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 tactile (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 The pictures are tactile and densely tiered, with collaged newspaper and magazine pages sometimes embedded among the strata. Washington Post, 16 Apr. 2021 Though her outfits varied in silhouette and mood, each had a tactile element that kept things interesting. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 10 June 2021 Those are sweet garnishes on Carle’s breathtaking illustrations, which look every bit as tactile as the divots and holes in his pages. BostonGlobe.com, 26 May 2021 The new set of electrodes create tactile sensations by stimulating parts of Copeland’s brain with pulses of electricity when the arm comes in contact with an object. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 May 2021 Here, the desire for the tactile satisfaction of clicking another dot into place helps motivate you to drink more water. Margo Ghertner, WSJ, 12 May 2021 The hourlong classes are designed to introduce children to nature and encourage tactile play with songs, stories, crafts and other outdoor activities in the arboretum gardens. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2021 The label and bottle alone are visual and tactile art. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 10 May 2021 Her collection reveals her background in metalsmithing and her love for tactile nuances that finish her geometric forms, offering a juxtaposition of form, function and finish which often seems like the pieces have just come out of the earth. Beth Bernstein, Forbes, 7 May 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near tactile

tactics

tactile

tactile disk

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Statistics for tactile

Last Updated

28 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tactile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tactile. Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for tactile

tactile

adjective

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 tactile (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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