re·​touch | \ (ˌ)rē-ˈtəch How to pronounce retouch (audio) \
retouched; retouching; retouches

Definition of retouch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to rework in order to improve : touch up
2 : to alter (something, such as a photographic negative) to produce a more desirable appearance
3 : to color (new growth of hair) to match previously dyed, tinted, or bleached hair

intransitive verb

: to make or give retouches


re·​touch | \ ˈrē-ˌtəch How to pronounce retouch (audio) , (ˌ)rē-ˈtəch \

Definition of retouch (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or process or an instance of retouching especially : the retouching of a new growth of hair

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Other Words from retouch


retoucher noun

Examples of retouch in a Sentence

Verb The photo had been retouched to remove the wrinkles around his eyes.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Normally, chemical hair relaxers have to be retouched every four to six weeks, and going two months between touch-ups can lead to hair breakage, Smith said. Julie Washington, cleveland, "Salons, barber shops cope with rush as clients return after shutdown," 1 June 2020 Keep It Chic To file under no surprise, the royal engagement photos were retouched, albeit minimally. Joyann King, Harper's BAZAAR, "While You Were Sleeping...Designers Sketch Kate Middleton's Wedding Gown, Rihanna Goes Brunete, Plus More!," 15 Dec. 2010 Like with this picture, this is actually a campaign shot and it was retouched. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "Why Eva Mendes Doesn’t Share New Photos of Herself and Ryan Gosling on Instagram," 6 Mar. 2020 Self-love, authenticity, and body positivity have been core tenants of the Aerie brand for years, beginning with their pledge to stop retouching their imagery back in 2014. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Beanie Feldstein, Lana Condor, and More Celebs Join the AerieReal Role Models," 25 Jan. 2020 The images that haven't been retouched will include an Olay skin promise logo. Sarah Brookbank,, "Procter & Gamble's Olay to stop using retouching in advertisements by 2021," 20 Feb. 2020 The plan is to end all retouching in Olay’s advertising by the end of 2020 in all media — print, digital and TV included. Sarah Brookbank,, "Procter & Gamble's Olay to stop using retouching in advertisements by 2021," 20 Feb. 2020 There isn’t a 12-year-old that doesn’t know how to take a great selfie and how to retouch it perfectly. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Cindy Crawford and Her Daughter Kaia Gerber Talk Modeling In the Age of Social Media," 10 Oct. 2019 The brand has pledged to ban retouching from its advertisements entirely, and to include models of all ages, shapes, and skin types in its campaigns. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "SPKTRM Beauty, a Brand-New Brand, Bans Skin Retouching in Ads," 16 Aug. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The painting has undergone many retouches and restorations in the past and some of the later additions are starting to fade. Washington Post, "Research, restoration begins on Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’," 8 July 2019 The painting has undergone many retouches and restorations in the past and some of the later additions are starting to fade. Aleksandar Furtula,, "Research, restoration begins on Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’," 8 July 2019 Advertising everything from auto shops and grocers to bars and chapels, Carey's work started from a simple commercial core (NextCity profiled him in 2017, noting Carey would even offer retouches to businesses for $10 or $15). Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "How do you preserve beloved New Orleans folk art? A Web font, of course," 23 Nov. 2018 To start, Sheriff used Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r instant retouch primer. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, "The Best and Biggest Hair at the Oscars," 4 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of retouch


circa 1650, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1703, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for retouch


French retoucher, from Middle French, from re- + toucher to touch

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Time Traveler for retouch

Time Traveler

The first known use of retouch was circa 1650

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Cite this Entry

“Retouch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for retouch



English Language Learners Definition of retouch

: to make small changes to (something, such as a photograph) in order to improve the way it looks

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