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

Definition of tactile

  1. 1 :  perceptible by touch :  tangible

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


play \-tə-lē, -ˌtīl-lē\ adverb

tactile was our Word of the Day on 07/21/2016. Hear the podcast!

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 was adopted by English speakers in the early 17th century (possibly by way of the French tactile) from the Latin adjective tactilis ("tangible"). Tactilis comes from tactus, a past participle of tangere.

Origin and Etymology of tactile

French or Latin; French, from Latin tactilis, from tangere to touch — more at 2tangent

First Known Use: 1615

TACTILE Defined for English Language Learners


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

Definition of tactile for English Language Learners

  • : relating to the sense of touch

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


\-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

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 cast off or become cast off

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