What Does Tangible and Intangible Mean?

Tangible is an adjective that indicates that something can be touched or accurately perceived. It refers to what is palpable, perceptible, concrete and real.

In opposition, intangible indicates something that cannot or should not be touched. It refers to the immaterial, the abstract, the ethereal.

Some terms can be both tangible and intangible, for example:

  • A prize or reward can be tangible (for example, a monetary amount) or intangible (a round of applause).
  • The parts of a computer system are usually classified into hardware (tangible) and software (intangible).
  • The results of a process can be tangible (number of products sold in an hour) or intangible (motivation of workers).


tangible heritage

The Tangible or Material Cultural Heritage of a country includes the productions of the human being that are considered of great cultural value and that must be preserved due to their cultural importance. It is used, among others, by UNESCO when talking about the Material or Tangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In turn, it can be classified into Piece of furniture and Property.

  • The Movable Tangible Heritage they are the objects that have special value (archaeological, historical, artistic, etc.). For example, Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, exhibited in the Louvre Museum, Paris (France).
  • The Real Estate Tangible Heritage It is constituted by the places, constructions and buildings. For example, the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Mexico)

Tangible assets and intangible assets

In accountingthe intangible assets are the intangible assets that a company has. For example, the training, experience and skills of its workers. In this way, the tangible assets would be material goods such as machinery or premises.

tangible product

In the world of businessthe tangible products are the Physical goods that can be manufactured, processed and delivered. Some examples are: a mobile phone, a shirt or a car. On the contrary, an intangible product would be the intangible goods that a company markets. In this case, they could be identified with a service, since something physical is not offered or bought (for example, a dental operation or the repair of a washing machine). The same company can have tangible products (for example, a modem) and intangible products (the installation of the modem).

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