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adjective tac·tile \ˈtak-təl, -ˌtī(-ə)l\

Simple Definition of tactile

  • : relating to the sense of touch

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of tactile

  1. 1 :  perceptible by touch :  tangible

  2. 2 :  of, relating to, or being the sense of touch

tactilely play \-tə-lē, -ˌtīl-lē\ adverb

Examples of tactile in a sentence

  1. He not only had visual difficulties but tactile ones, too—witness his grasping his wife's head and mistaking it for a hat … —Oliver Sacks, New Yorker, 7 Oct. 2002

  2. There is a tactile and therefore somatic dimension to stroking the chalk that keeps the artist in constant, responsible and responsive touch with his emerging creation. —Jed Perl, New Republic, 17 June 2002

  3. The keyboard has good tactile feedback, and the touch pad is responsive without being too twitchy. —Bruce Brown, PC Magazine, 20 Feb. 2001

  4. … nothing prepared me for the tactile reality of the original volumes, leaf after carefully written leaf over which his hand had travelled … —Edmund Morris, New Yorker, 16 Jan. 1995

  5. Near midday the heat of the sun bounced up from the bare patches of soil to hit with an almost tactile force. —Edward O. Wilson, Smithsonian, October 1984

  6. The thick brushstrokes give the painting a tactile quality.

Did You Know?

Tangible is related to "tactile," and so are "intact," "tact," "contingent," "tangent," and even "entire." There's also the uncommon noun taction, meaning "the act of touching." Like "tactile," all of these words can be traced back to the Latin verb tangere, meaning "to touch." "Tactile" made its way to our language by way of French, touching ground in English in the early 17th century.

Origin of tactile

French or Latin; French, from Latin tactilis, from tangere to touch — more at tangent

First Known Use: 1615

Rhymes with tactile

TACTILE Defined for Kids


adjective tac·tile \ˈtak-təl\

Definition of tactile for Students

  1. :  relating to the sense of touch

Word Root of tactile

The Latin word tangere, meaning “to touch,” and its form tactus give us the roots tang and tact. Words from the Latin tangere have something to do with touching. Something tangible is able to be touched. Contact is a meeting or touching of people or things. Something intact is unharmed, whole, and untouched. Anything tactile relates to the sense of touch.

Medical Dictionary



play play
adjective tac·tile \ˈtak-təl, -ˌtīl\

Medical Definition of tactile

  1. 1:  of, relating to, mediated by, or affecting the sense of touch <tactile sensations> <tactile stimuli> <tactile anesthesia>

  2. 2:  having or being organs or receptors for the sense of touch

tactilely \-ē\play adverb



noun tac·tile

Medical Definition of tactile

  1. :  a person whose prevailing mental imagery is tactile rather than visual, auditory, or motor—compare audile, motile, visualizer

Learn More about tactile

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up tactile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to dishevel or rumple

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