Perhaps it was just being misused, but the questions crossed my mind before and last night it came up again again.
While talking with someone about job opportunities in NYC, a friend started to talk about cost of living. As we continued to discuss various pros and cons, the friend said to me
Let's get back on the job discussion, cost of living is tangentially related but not important right now.
In this instance, the friend was saying that what we were talking currently (cost of living) has a close relationship with what we started on (working in NYC).
Later in the conversation, our conversation turned towards the amount of time it takes to move from Colorado to NYC. As we talked about the various routes and vehicles for movement, the friend said:
We've gone way off topic — talk about getting lost on a tangent.
In this instance, the tangent is barely related to the original subject.
Is there a misuse of the word tangent here, has tangent just become a word that relates to anything off-topic that has at least the slightest relation to the original topic, or is there something else that I am missing?