\ˈtəch \
touched; touching; touches

Definition of touch 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to bring a bodily part into contact with especially so as to perceive through the tactile sense : handle or feel gently usually with the intent to understand or appreciate loved to touch the soft silk

2a : to put hands upon in any way or degree don't touch anything before the police come especially : to commit violence upon swears he never touched the child

b : to take into the hands or mouth never touches alcohol

3 : to strike or push lightly especially with the hand or foot or an implement

4 : to cause to be briefly in contact or conjunction with something touched her spurs to the horse touched his hand to his hat

5 : to deal with : become involved with a sticky situation and I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole

6a(1) : to meet without overlapping or penetrating : adjoin

(2) : to get to : reach the speedometer needle touched 80

b : to rival in quality or value nothing can touch that cloth for durability

c : to be tangent to

7 : to speak or tell of especially in passing barely touched the incident in the speech

8a : to relate to : concern

b : to have an influence on : affect

9a : to move to sympathetic feeling

b : to hurt the feelings of : wound

10a : to leave a mark or impression on few reagents will touch gold also : tinge

b : to harm slightly by or as if by contact : taint, blemish fruit touched by frost

c : to give a delicate tint, line, or expression to a smile touched her lips

d : to get a hit off or score a run against touched him for three runs

11 : to draw or delineate with light strokes

12 : to induce to give or lend touched him for ten dollars

13 : to lay hands upon (one afflicted with scrofula) with intent to heal

14 archaic

a : to play on (a stringed instrument)

b : to perform (a melody) by playing or singing

intransitive verb

1a : to feel something with a body part (such as the hand or foot)

b : to lay hand or finger on a person to cure disease (such as scrofula)

2 : to be in contact

3 : to come close : verge your actions touch on treason

4a : to treat a topic in a brief or casual manner used with on or upon touched upon many points

b : to make a brief or incidental stop on shore during a trip by water touched at several ports

5 : to have a bearing : relate used with on or upon

touch base

: to come in contact or communication coming in from the cold to touch base with civilization— Carla Hunt



Definition of touch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or fact of touching also : the act or an instance of handling or controlling a ball (as in basketball or soccer)

2 : the special sense by which pressure or traction exerted on the skin or mucous membrane is perceived

3 : a specified sensation that arises in response to stimulation of the tactile receptors : feel the velvety touch of velour

4a : a light stroke, tap, or push

b : a hit against an opponent in fencing

5a : an effective and subtle detail applies the finishing touches to the story

b : distinctive and often effective manner or method the touch of a master

c : a characteristic or distinguishing trait or quality

6 : mental or moral sensitiveness, responsiveness, or tact has a wonderful touch with children

7 : something slight of its kind: such as

a : a light attack a touch of fever

b : a small quantity or indication : hint a touch of spring in the air

c : a transient emotion a momentary touch of compunction

d : a near approach : close call beaten in the championships by a mere touch

8 : the state or fact of being in contact or communication or of having awareness lost touch with her cousin let's keep in touch out of touch with modern times

9a : a visible effect : mark a touch of the tropical sun

b : weakness, defect

10 : control of the hands: such as

a : a manner or method of touching or striking especially the keys of a keyboard instrument

b : ability to precisely control the path and speed of a shot or pass a great shooting touch

11 : the area outside of the touchlines in soccer or outside of and including the touchlines in rugby the ball went into touch

12a : particular action of a keyboard with reference to the resistance of its keys to pressure piano with a stiff touch

b archaic : the playing of an instrument (such as a lute or piano) with the fingers also : musical notes or strains so produced

13a : test, trial used chiefly in the phrase put to the touch

b archaic : the act of rubbing gold or silver on a touchstone to test its quality

14 : a set of changes in change ringing that is less than a peal

15 slang : an act of soliciting or getting a gift or loan

a touch

: somewhat, rather aimed a touch too low and missed

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Other Words from touch


touchable \ˈtə-chə-bəl \ adjective
toucher noun

Choose the Right Synonym for touch


affect, influence, touch, impress, strike, sway mean to produce or have an effect upon. affect implies the action of a stimulus that can produce a response or reaction. the sight affected her to tears influence implies a force that brings about a change (as in nature or behavior). our beliefs are influenced by our upbringing touch may carry a vivid suggestion of close contact and may connote stirring, arousing, or harming. plants touched by frost his emotions were touched by her distress impress stresses the depth and persistence of the effect. only one of the plans impressed him strike, similar to but weaker than impress, may convey the notion of sudden sharp perception or appreciation. struck by the solemnity of the occasion sway implies the acting of influences that are not resisted or are irresistible, with resulting change in character or course of action. politicians who are swayed by popular opinion

Examples of touch in a Sentence


Please do not touch the statue. Slowly bend forward and try to touch your toes. He tried to touch the snake with a stick. The top of the Christmas tree almost touches the ceiling. Sparks flew when the wires touched each other. They were standing side-by-side with their shoulders touching. Sparks flew when the wires touched. Their house burned to the ground, but the house next door wasn't touched by the fire.


Blind since birth, she relies on her sense of touch to read braille. The plate was hot to the touch.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Residents, for example, would be terrified to touch anything. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Innovative project harnesses Legos and smartphones in the fight against invisible, deadly weapons," 13 July 2018 Once brine is cool enough to touch, stir in shrimp. Osayi Endolyn, WSJ, "Why Chefs Are Elevating Rice to Star Ingredient Status," 13 July 2018 An Ohio law known as the Community Defense Act prohibits anyone who isn't a family member to touch a nude or semi-nude dancer. NBC News, "Stormy Daniels arrested at strip club, charged with sex offenses," 12 July 2018 The volunteers are not allowed to touch their clients other than a handshake. Faith E. Pinho, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis attorney returns from border with stories she could not 'fathom'," 12 July 2018 Zorn’s saxophone and Laswell’s bass are elemental forces — like lightning and thunder — visceral, tangible and looking to touch a nerve. Joshua Zucker,, "John Zorn and Bill Laswell make rare duo appearance at the Chapel," 11 July 2018 The health department said the rabies case was confirmed through lab testing and reminded residents not to touch living or dead bats with bare hands to avoid exposure to the deadly virus. Andy Marso, kansascity, "After JoCo bat tests positive for rabies, health department warns residents of danger," 10 July 2018 You are invited to respectfully touch, move, stack, lean and arrange the boxes at your discretion. Mike Giuliano, Howard County Times, "Artist gets metaphysical at Columbia Art Center," 6 July 2018 Situated right in the middle of the children's department, Mystic Aquarium brought a few of its sea friends for children to touch and learn about. Michael Walsh, Courant Community, "Mystic Aquarium Touch Tank Visits Avon Library," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Democrats are often thought to be tech-savvy, because the Obama campaigns of 2008 and 2012 were celebrated for their online touch and because much of Silicon Valley backs the party’s candidates. New York Times, "4,500 Tech Workers, 1 Mission: Get Democrats Elected," 13 July 2018 Philly will look for swingman Furkan Korkmaz to reclaim his shooting touch The second-year player had a game-high 40 points and hit 8 of 12 three-pointers in Friday’s loss to the Boston Celtics. Keith Pompey,, "Sixers to open NBA Summer League playoffs against Mikal Bridges, Suns," 11 July 2018 His shooting touch has been steadily declining to last year's career-low 40.4 percent. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Melo to Miami? How Heat’s interest in Carmelo Anthony reveals one team’s desperation," 11 July 2018 Now in its ninth year, the project includes more than 140 works, several of which touch on immigration policy. New York Times, "Things to Do in NYC: Astoria for a Pool Day, and Open-Mic Night Plus Dumplings in Chinatown," 12 July 2018 In short, Starr praises Kavanaugh for favoring judicial activism in pursuit of a light-touch regulatory agenda. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh and the new judicial activism," 12 July 2018 Minimal, strappy heeled sandals and Saint Laurent sunglasses were A-list finishing touches. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Dakota Johnson Takes the Baggy Jean to the Red Carpet," 11 July 2018 Serena seems to be under the impression that a rebellious nature is infectious, and June will somehow transmit her spirit to Holly through touch., "The Handmaid's Tale Recap Season 2, Episode 12: Gilead's Romeo & Juliet," 4 July 2018 Frustrated Rebic clips Young from behind, giving away a free kick on the left touch line. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams," 12 July 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

History and Etymology for touch


Middle English, from Anglo-French tucher, tuchier, from Vulgar Latin *toccare to knock, strike a bell, touch, probably of imitative origin

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Statistics for touch

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for touch

The first known use of touch was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for touch



English Language Learners Definition of touch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to put your hand, fingers, etc., on someone or something

: to be in contact with (something)

: to change or move (something)



English Language Learners Definition of touch (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of touching someone or something

: the ability to be aware of something physical by touching it : the sense that allows you to feel physical things

: the quality of a thing that is experienced by feeling or touching it


\ˈtəch \
touched; touching

Kids Definition of touch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to feel or handle (as with the fingers) especially so as to be aware of I touched the rabbit's soft fur.

2 : to be or cause to be in contact with something Lightly touch the paintbrush to your paper.

3 : to hit lightly Be careful not to touch the walls.

4 : harm entry 2 No one will dare to touch you.

5 : to make use of She never touches meat.

6 : to refer to in passing The report touched upon many topics.

7 : to affect the interest of This matter touches all of us.

8 : to have an influence on As a teacher, he touched many lives.

9 : to move emotionally I was touched by your kindness.



Kids Definition of touch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a light stroke or tap Stop crying. It was only a touch and couldn't have hurt.

2 : the act or fact of touching or being touched I felt a gentle touch on my shoulder.

3 : the sense by which light pressure on the skin is felt The substance is soft to the touch.

4 : an impression gotten through the sense of touch the soft touch of silk

5 : a state of contact or communication It is important to keep in touch with friends.

6 : a small amount : trace a touch of humor

7 : a small detail We put the finishing touches on the decorations.

\ˈtəch \

Medical Definition of touch 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: to bring a bodily part into contact with especially so as to perceive through the tactile sense : handle or feel gently usually with the intent to understand or appreciate

intransitive verb

: to feel something with a body part (as the hand or foot)



Medical Definition of touch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the special sense by which pressure or traction exerted on the skin or mucous membrane is perceived

2 : a light attack a touch of fever

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Comments on touch

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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