hap·​tic | \ ˈhap-tik How to pronounce haptic (audio) \

Definition of haptic

1 : relating to or based on the sense of touch
2 : characterized by a predilection for the sense of touch a haptic person

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Haptic felt its way into English in the 19th century as a back-formation of haptics, a noun which was borrowed from the New Latin hapticē (meaning "science of touch," and derived ultimately from the Greek haptesthai, meaning "to touch") in the 1700s. Haptic was originally a medical synonym for tactile. By the 20th century, it had developed a psychological sense, describing individuals whose perception supposedly depended primarily on touch rather than sight. Although almost no one today divides humans into haptic and visual personalities, English retains the broadened psychological sense of haptic as well as the older "tactile" sense.

Examples of haptic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Over decades, input devices in the video game industry have evolved from simple joysticks to sophisticated controllers that emit haptic feedback. Amanda Florian, Washington Post, 1 Aug. 2022 The Stanford team wanted to create something that came as close to a human diver as possible, integrating artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and haptic feedback. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 30 July 2022 However, there's no adaptive trigger support or haptic feedback yet. Kris Holt, Forbes, 28 June 2022 That may lead to hand controls with gloves that offer haptic feedback. Roberto Baldwin, Ars Technica, 14 June 2022 Keyboard haptics Apple is bringing haptic feedback to the keyboard in iOS 16. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 8 June 2022 At one point, graduate students demonstrated new devices that could send taps and presses from a distance—a kind of primitive haptic FaceTime. Andrew Leland, The New Yorker, 12 May 2022 The touchpad is also upgraded, now a larger haptic pad with pressure sensors. Matthew Buzzi, PCMAG, 9 May 2022 Another screen down on the center stack is flanked by two physical knobs that can display either haptic climate-control buttons or a row of navigation and audio controls. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, 2 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'haptic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of haptic

1860, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for haptic

back-formation from haptics

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Haptic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haptic. Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for haptic


hap·​tic | \ ˈhap-tik How to pronounce haptic (audio) \
variants: also haptical \ -​ti-​kəl How to pronounce haptic (audio) \

Medical Definition of haptic

1 : relating to or based on the sense of touch the haptic mode of perception— Colin Gordon
2 : characterized by a predilection for the sense of touch a haptic person


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