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


The photo had been retouched to remove the wrinkles around his eyes.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Executives decided some years ago to not retouch photos of models in Aerie campaigns. Jordyn Holman,, "American Eagle is thriving even as shopping malls shrivel," 4 June 2019 Meanwhile, another dancing queen, Emily Ratajkowski shimmied along to the beat of Ariana Grande while retouching her makeup. Akili King, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Instagrams of the Week: Jorja Smith, Emily Ratajkowski, and More," 7 Apr. 2019 Dibbits said the painting has been retouched many other times in the past and that the later additions are starting to fade. Mike Corder, The Seattle Times, "Rembrandt’s Night Watch to get restoration in Amsterdam," 16 Oct. 2018 Aerie made a campaign out of its decision to stop retouching photos, called #AerieReal. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "Victoria’s Secret: Sex Isn’t Selling," 17 Nov. 2018 Multitool Eight more bifaces in the sample showed evidence of retouching that had partially covered old fire-striking wear, and some showed microscopic traces of wear from other tasks, like butchering animals or cutting up edible plants. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Neanderthals used stone hand axes to strike a light," 26 July 2018 In recent years, the movement has picked up steam — and now, Paris Jackson is speaking out about her own photos being retouched, pleading with fans to stop changing the color of her skin., "Paris Jackson Wants Fans to Stop Photoshopping Her Skin Color: 'I Am What I Am'," 7 Mar. 2018 Archaeologists think that in Copper Age Europe, manufacturing tools like daggers and arrowheads was the work of expert specialists, but most adults knew how to retouch or resharpen a blade with a reasonable amount of skill. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Ötzi the Iceman spent his last days trying to repair his tools," 22 June 2018 Since then, Raisman, 23, has teamed with clothing brand Aerie, starring in its new #AerieReal campaign un-retouched to encourage tolerance, acceptance and body positivity. Brittany Talarico,, "Aly Raisman Poses Nude for 2018 SI Swimsuit: 'Women Do Not Have to Be Modest to Be Respected'," 13 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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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Learn More about retouch

Dictionary Entries near retouch

retort pouch

retort stand






Statistics for retouch

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retouch

The first known use of retouch was circa 1650

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on retouch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retouch

Comments on retouch

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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