\ ˈtə-chē How to pronounce touchy (audio) \
touchier; touchiest

Definition of touchy

1 : marked by readiness to take offense on slight provocation he's a little touchy about his past
2 : calling for tact, care, or caution in treatment a touchy subject
3a of a body part : acutely sensitive or irritable
b of a chemical : highly explosive or inflammable

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Other Words from touchy

touchily \ ˈtə-​chə-​lē How to pronounce touchily (audio) \ adverb
touchiness \ ˈtə-​chē-​nəs How to pronounce touchiness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for touchy


huffy, tetchy, thin-skinned, ticklish



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Examples of touchy in a Sentence

Don't be so touchy. I was just kidding. watch what you say around him, as he's very touchy about every little thing

Recent Examples on the Web

That is really still a touchy subject, specifically and especially in the African American church. NBC News, "Meet the Press - June 16, 2019," 16 June 2019 The truth is that after several tight years, gift-giving remains a touchy and pricey prospect for many of us. Carmen Wong Ulrich, Good Housekeeping, "Spend Less, Give More," 15 Nov. 2011 His research into matters that China’s government is touchy about was likely to have drawn attention from the security services, said friends and former colleagues in the diplomatic corps. Josh Chin, WSJ, "‘No Coincidence’: China’s Detention of Canadian Seen as Retaliation for Huawei Arrest," 12 Dec. 2018 Several songs broached topics that are exceptionally touchy for many in country’s predominantly white, rural audience, and even more fearsome for radio programmers who try to avoid controversy at all costs. Randy Lewis,, "‘I can’t stay completely silent’: Country music’s Jason Isbell looks inward in examining a ‘White Man’s World’," 29 June 2018 The touch screen is touchy for fat fingers and the screen is high in the center stack and vulnerable to glare in sunshine. Mark Maynard,, "2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: Forever young," 22 June 2018 Lyle Craker is an unlikely advocate for any political cause, let alone one as touchy as marijuana law, and that’s precisely why Rick Doblin sought him out almost two decades ago. Josh Dean,, "America Is Giving Away the $30 Billion Medical Marijuana Industry," 7 Mar. 2018 Trust that the touchiest spots and most tender desires are what wants to come undone and flow freely from your luscious loins. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Monthly Lovescopes October 2018," 3 Oct. 2018 Focus on being light and easy, and avoid those who are difficult and touchy., "Horoscope," 8 July 2018

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

1602, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for touchy

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for touchy

The first known use of touchy was in 1602

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More Definitions for touchy



English Language Learners Definition of touchy

: easily hurt or upset by the things that people think or say about you
: likely to cause people to become upset


\ ˈtə-chē How to pronounce touchy (audio) \
touchier; touchiest

Kids Definition of touchy

1 : easily hurt or insulted She's touchy about her weight.
2 : calling for tact or careful handling a touchy subject

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More from Merriam-Webster on touchy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with touchy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for touchy

Spanish Central: Translation of touchy

Nglish: Translation of touchy for Spanish Speakers

Comments on touchy

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


to complain fretfully

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