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

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to make or give retouches
retoucher noun


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re·​touch ˈrē-ˌtəch How to pronounce retouch (audio)
: the act or process or an instance of retouching
especially : the retouching of a new growth of hair

Examples of retouch in a Sentence

Verb The photo had been retouched to remove the wrinkles around his eyes.
Recent Examples on the Web
The film’s unique look raises similar questions of how humans and algorithms work together, suggesting that animators took what the computer rendered and then retouched every frame by hand. Peter Debruge, Variety, 27 July 2023 Some celebs have been called out for retouching their images on social media, while others have criticized the use of filters and apps, creating a stigma around altering your appearance. Madison Werner, Glamour, 20 June 2023 He was hired in 1959 by A.V. Roe & Company in Toronto to retouch photos of pots and pans for its catalogs. William Grimes, New York Times, 5 May 2023 Images can be retouched, stories recast. Kate Kelly, New York Times, 26 Mar. 2023 While many early prints by Steichen, Maurice Goldberg, and their ilk were signed and mounted like miniature paintings, later examples bear signs of certain technical innovations that emerged in the medium, including artful approaches to retouching. Marley Marius, Vogue, 8 Mar. 2023 Two decades ago, Curtis famously posed in black lingerie and no makeup, with zilch retouching of her cellulite, crow’s feet and other mortal imperfections, instantly becoming a girlfriend to us all. Karen Heller, Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2023 Avery says two of these photos were taken by a camera and the rest were AI-generated, then retouched. Benj Edwards, Ars Technica, 21 Feb. 2023 The biggest thing was to have long-wear without having to load the skin with a lot of powder or retouching your skin all day—which was the old-fashioned way to do it, because foundation had a tendency to disappear. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, 21 Feb. 2023
Color retouch costs range between $65 and $70 and bayalage or ombre are $150 and up. Ana Rocío Álvarez Bríñez, The Courier-Journal, 8 Apr. 2023 That's why Moore suggests going into the salon for a root retouch every four to eight weeks to maintain color vibrancy. Amina Ayoud, Allure, 23 Mar. 2022 The painting has undergone many retouches and restorations in the past and some of the later additions are starting to fade. Aleksandar Furtula,, 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, 23 Nov. 2018 To start, Sheriff used Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r instant retouch primer. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, 4 Mar. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'retouch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


circa 1650, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1703, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of retouch was circa 1650

Dictionary Entries Near retouch

Cite this Entry

“Retouch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: touch up
especially : to change (as a photographic negative) in order to produce a more desirable appearance

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