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touch·​ing ˈtə-chiŋ How to pronounce touching (audio)
: capable of arousing emotions of tenderness or compassion
touchingly adverb


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: in reference to : concerning
Choose the Right Synonym for touching

moving, impressive, poignant, affecting, touching, pathetic mean having the power to produce deep emotion.

moving may apply to any strong emotional effect including thrilling, agitating, saddening, or calling forth pity or sympathy.

a moving appeal for contributions

impressive implies compelling attention, admiration, wonder, or conviction.

an impressive list of achievements

poignant applies to what keenly or sharply affects one's sensitivities.

a poignant documentary on the homeless

affecting is close to moving but most often suggests pathos.

an affecting deathbed reunion

touching implies arousing tenderness or compassion.

the touching innocence in a child's eyes

pathetic implies moving to pity or sometimes contempt.

pathetic attempts to justify misconduct

Examples of touching in a Sentence

Adjective touching lots in the housing development will eventually be separated by hedges for privacy a touching movie about two lost animals who try to find their way home Preposition there has been an objection touching the last of the proposed new bylaws
Recent Examples on the Web
Among the film’s more oddly touching impressions is that men want to feel desired, not in any swaggering horndog way but certainly in ways that don’t fit neatly into the boilerplate mold of husband and father. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Feb. 2024 Ahead of David McCallum's death last September, his NCIS costar Brian Dietzen was able to say goodbye in a touching way. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 19 Feb. 2024 Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai is known for his sensitive and touching depiction of young people’s and adolescents’ stories while also cataloging the consequences of China’s incredible and rapid modernization. Patrick Frater, Variety, 17 Feb. 2024 Insert a meat thermometer into center without touching bone. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Feb. 2024 There was something reassuring, and almost touching, about seeing him there, in a tux, earnestly trying to charm a room full of strangers. Anna Russell, The New Yorker, 12 Feb. 2024 The Pitch Perfect star penned a touching post to Ledbetter, who died at age 77 on Jan. 29, on Instagram., 1 Feb. 2024 Willie Boy Is Here (1969), The Sting (1973), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), The Electric Horseman (1979), Brubaker (1980), The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), The Horse Whisperer (1998) and, in a touching reunion, The Old Man & the Gun (2018). Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Feb. 2024 Stevie Wonder sang a touching tribute to one of his close friends and a duet partner, Tony Bennett, performing alongside a recording of the icon who died in July. Moises Mendez Ii, TIME, 5 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1586, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near touching

Cite this Entry

“Touching.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: causing a feeling of tenderness or pity
a touching story
touchingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on touching

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