\ˈtə-chē \
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 \ adverb
touchiness \ˈtə-​chē-​nəs \ 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

China’s cavalier treatment of intellectual property rights has been a touchy subject in the auto industry for years. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Trump administration criticizes Chinese company’s attempted takeover of Faraday Future," 21 Nov. 2018 Come up with a scripted response to steer the conversation away from touchy areas. Mattie Quinn, SELF, "10 Tips for Dealing With Family Estrangement During the Holidays," 21 Nov. 2018 For one thing, Tesla and Fisker have a touchy history. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Electric cars could use another big battery breakthrough — this CEO says he’s got it," 16 Aug. 2018 How to approach a PIP with an employee Implementing a PIP can be a highly touchy situation—the employee is likely feeling embarrassed that things have gotten to this point and may be emotional or defensive. Kate Lopaze, USA TODAY, "Struggling worker? How to establish a performance improvement plan," 18 Mar. 2018 Completing one’s military service is a touchy subject in South Korea. Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "South Korean Soccer Star Needs to Beat Japan or Report for Duty," 30 Aug. 2018 First and foremost, touching can be a well, touchy, issue. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "President Trump Will Meet Queen Elizabeth II on Friday. Here's What He Should—and Shouldn't Do," 12 July 2018 Lopez Obrador had been compared to Trump for his populist, nationalist rhetoric and sometimes touchy personality — as well as his past skepticism about the trade deal. Mark Stevenson,, "After winning election, Mexico's Lopez Obrador reaches out to Trump, seeks NAFTA deal," 2 July 2018 Abby has tackled other touchy cases in this lively series, but the Red Sox? Marilyn Stasio, New York Times, "Dangerous Disappearing Acts, With Killers in Pursuit," 8 June 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

17 Dec 2018

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 \
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

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