“Intact” is One Word
I’ve seen too many examples of intact written as two words to go on assuming that they are typographical errors.
Photo caption: A couch that was left in tact after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Question on medical forum: Is chest muscle left in tact after MastX?
Question on aviation site: Why are there only 2 Stukas left in tact today?
The adjective intact is written as one word. It means “whole, entire, not affected by anything that injures. ” Ex. An animal that has not been spayed or neutered is said to be “intact.”
The literal meaning of intact is “untouched.” The “in” prefix means “not.” The “tact” comes from a verb meaning “to touch.”
The noun tact has the same origin. An obsolete use is “sense of touch.” Now the word’s main use is figurative:
tact – ready and delicate sense of what is fitting and proper in dealing with others, so as to avoid giving offence, or win good will; skill or judgement in dealing with men or negotiating difficult or delicate situations; the faculty of saying or doing the right thing at the right time. (OED)
As for intact, let’s keep it, well, intact.
Browse all articles on the Misused Words category or check the recommended content for you below:
Improve your English in 5 minutes a day! Subscribe to our Writing Tips and Exercises via Email
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our archives with 800+ interactive exercises!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!