Word of the Day : January 10, 2021


adjective HAP-tik

What It Means

1 : relating to or based on the sense of touch

2 : characterized by a predilection for the sense of touch

haptic in Context

"Unlike most haptic systems, which rely on some sort of vibration motor, the technology behind the Hands Omni gloves instead uses something simpler: air. Small bladders are placed in the gloves' fingertips and, when the user reaches out to grab something in the virtual game world, the device selectively inflates those bladders, putting pressure on the user's fingertips and evoking the sensation of actually touching a physical object." — Dan Moren, Popular Science, 27 Apr. 2015

"We're all accustomed to haptic controllers that send game-related vibrations through our fingers." — Hiawatha Bray, The Boston Globe, 1 Dec. 2020

Did You Know?

Haptic felt its way into English in the 19th century as a back-formation of haptics, a noun which was borrowed from the New Latin hapticē (meaning "science of touch," and derived ultimately from the Greek haptesthai, meaning "to touch") in the 1700s. Haptic was originally a medical synonym for tactile. By the 20th century, it had developed a psychological sense, describing individuals whose perception supposedly depended primarily on touch rather than sight. Although almost no one today divides humans into haptic and visual personalities, English retains the broadened psychological sense of haptic as well as the older "tactile" sense.

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