touch

1 of 2

verb

touched; touching; touches

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
2
a
: 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
6
a(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
8
a
: to relate to : concern
b
: to have an influence on : affect
9
a
: to move to sympathetic feeling
b
: to hurt the feelings of : wound
10
a
: 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

1
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
touchable adjective
toucher noun

touch

2 of 2

noun

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
4
a
: a light stroke, tap, or push
b
: a hit against an opponent in fencing
5
a
: 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
9
a
: a visible effect : mark
a touch of the tropical sun
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
12
a
: 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
13
a
: 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
Phrases
touch base
: to come in contact or communication
coming in from the cold to touch base with civilizationCarla Hunt
a touch
: somewhat, rather
aimed a touch too low and missed
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

Verb 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. Noun Blind since birth, she relies on her sense of touch to read braille. The plate was hot to the touch. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
As afternoon wind gusts from the northwest briefly touch 20 mph, the thermometer should hit the mid-to-upper 50s. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2024 The impact as greenhouse gas emissions continue to warm the planet will touch everything from native wildlife and plant hardiness zones to poison ivy and potholes. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 23 Feb. 2024 Our discussion also touched upon the human element in AI, particularly in the training and fine-tuning of models. Janakiram Msv, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 Visconti’s expansive menu touches briefly on pizza, with a meat combo ($16-$28) pie as stacked as any around. Benjy Egel, Sacramento Bee, 22 Feb. 2024 Notable deaths in 2024 A look back at the esteemed personalities who've left us this year, who'd touched us with their innovation, creativity and humanity. David Morgan, CBS News, 22 Feb. 2024 Most of Democrats’ criticism has touched on the idea that the state should not restrict local government’s ability to determine what is a fair wage for workers in their communities. Ana Ceballos, Miami Herald, 22 Feb. 2024 Final touches to the special-edition bottles include buffing and polishing for maximum shine. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 21 Feb. 2024 Tokyo's Nikkei 225 edged up by 0.1% after touching a 34-year high earlier in the day. Stan Choe The Associated Press, arkansasonline.com, 10 Feb. 2024
Noun
The numbers show us that tech, as a foundational element combined with human touch, is the special sauce in achieving a personalized digital experience. Roxanne Robinson, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2024 In addition, Alumni stay in touch with each other and offer all types of support. Cathy Whitlock, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Feb. 2024 The collection was replete with feminine, romantic touches like frills and bows, and the beauty followed suit. Lauren Murdoch-Smith, Vogue, 23 Feb. 2024 Monsour leans in with the playful touches: a smashburger slicked with Duke’s mayo sweetened with maple syrup and cinnamon, avocado toast dressed with cucumber-mint salsa and whizzed with drizzles of benne tahini. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2024 But Bushnell Harrell, who lives in South Carolina, tried to stay in touch with him every couple of months, mainly through his case workers. Jon Schuppe, NBC News, 22 Feb. 2024 The attack lacked the elaborate touches often associated with Russian assassination plots. Greg Miller, Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2024 Perhaps more winning is in their future also since the group says the plan to continue to play the Kentucky Lottery as another fun way to stay in touch. Stephanie Gallman Jordan, Southern Living, 11 Feb. 2024 The quasi-Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles robot-blue superhero costumes were a nice touch, too. Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, 11 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near touch

Cite this Entry

“Touch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/touch. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

touch

1 of 2 verb
1
: to feel or handle (as with fingers) especially so as to be aware of by the sense of touch
2
a
: to be or cause to be in contact with something
b
: to be or come next to
3
: to hit lightly
4
a
: to do harm to
b
: to make use of
never touches meat
5
: to refer to in passing : mention
the report touched upon many important points
6
: to affect the interest of
a matter that touches every parent
7
: to move emotionally
touched by their friend's kindness
touchable adjective
toucher noun

touch

2 of 2 noun
1
: a light stroke or tap
2
: the act or fact of touching or being touched
3
a
: the special sense by which one is aware of light pressure especially on the skin
soft to the touch
b
: an impression gotten through the sense of touch
the soft touch of silk
4
: a state of contact or communication
keeping in touch with friends
5
: a small amount : trace
a touch of garlic in the salad

Medical Definition

touch

1 of 2 transitive verb
: 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)

touch

2 of 2 noun
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

More from Merriam-Webster on touch

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