tactile

adjective
tac·​tile | \ ˈtak-tᵊl How to pronounce tactile (audio) , -ˌtī(-ə)l \

Definition of tactile

1 : perceptible by touch : tangible
2 : of, relating to, or being the sense of touch

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Other Words from tactile

tactilely \ ˈtak-​tə-​lē How to pronounce tactilely (audio) , -​ˌtī(-​ə)l-​lē \ adverb

Reach Out and Touch the Meaning of Tactile

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.

Examples of tactile in a Sentence

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 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 The keyboard has good tactile feedback, and the touch pad is responsive without being too twitchy. — Bruce Brown, PC Magazine, 20 Feb. 2001 … 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 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 The thick brushstrokes give the painting a tactile quality.
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Recent Examples on the Web Norton plays the vast and intricate composition with glittering angularity and tactile intensity, intellectual grandeur and joyful energy that make it, from the start, no less bracing and imaginative than Glenn Gould’s celebrated 1955 recording. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "An Underheralded Pianist Whose Life’s Work Is on YouTube," 12 Mar. 2020 Turning on the faucet is a humanistic, tactile thing. Michelle Brunner, Washington Post, "The recipe for a dream kitchen, according to Waterworks’s Barbara Sallick," 3 Mar. 2020 The tactile immediacy of dafatir works to counter that invisibility. Eli Jelly-schapiro, The New York Review of Books, "The Art of Neverending Wars," 15 Feb. 2020 The tactile sensation of typing out words has always has been a big deal for writers. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "Oscar-winning director Taika Waititi has a message for Apple: ‘fix those keyboards’," 12 Feb. 2020 While there’s no substitute for the tactile joy of thumbing through a cookbook complete with glossy illustrations, podcasts can offer free, limitless access to recipe ideas and tips from experts and civilians alike. New York Times, "6 Podcasts to Feed Your Inner Gourmand," 28 Dec. 2019 But power-users, particularly those in creative fields or those that are especially tactile people, will want to invest in the second-generation Apple Pencil. Jeff Dunn And Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: Nine gift ideas for the tech enthusiast in your life," 13 Dec. 2019 For example, the back of a cell phone could be covered in artificial skin to sense unique user gestures like grabbing, twisting, and scratching to provide tactile feedback. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Nobody Asked for Artificial Skin Phone Cases," 19 Oct. 2019 The place is so ancient, yet so tactile and present. Elaine Ayala, ExpressNews.com, "From Bethlehem to San Antonio, Guadalupe’s image is constant," 12 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tactile.' 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 tactile

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tactile

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

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Time Traveler for tactile

Time Traveler

The first known use of tactile was in 1615

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Statistics for tactile

Last Updated

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tactile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tactile. Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for tactile

tactile

adjective
How to pronounce tactile (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tactile

formal : relating to the sense of touch

tactile

adjective
tac·​tile | \ ˈtak-təl How to pronounce tactile (audio) \

Kids Definition of tactile

: relating to the sense of touch

tactile

adjective
tac·​tile | \ ˈtak-tᵊl How to pronounce tactile (audio) , -ˌtīl How to pronounce tactile (audio) \

Medical Definition of tactile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, mediated by, or affecting the sense of touch tactile sensations tactile stimuli tactile anesthesia
2 : having or being organs or receptors for the sense of touch

Other Words from tactile

tactilely \ -​ē How to pronounce tactilely (audio) \ adverb

tactile

noun

Medical Definition of tactile (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person whose prevailing mental imagery is tactile rather than visual, auditory, or motor — compare audile entry 1, motile entry 2, visualizer

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More from Merriam-Webster on tactile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tactile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tactile

Spanish Central: Translation of tactile

Nglish: Translation of tactile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tactile for Arabic Speakers

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