hap·​tic | \ ˈhap-tik How to pronounce haptic (audio) \

Definition of haptic

1 : relating to or based on the sense of touch
2 : characterized by a predilection for the sense of touch a haptic person

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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.

Examples of haptic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Gaming tech has evolved to create realistic haptic feedback on the lips, teeth, and tongue. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 9 May 2022 There’s no cutout here, just an unmarked glass pad with haptic feedback. Chloe Albanesius, PCMAG, 28 Apr. 2022 Meta has also been working on other ways to improve the metaverse’s immersion, including a pair of haptic gloves. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 20 Apr. 2022 Rather than shaking like an angry rattlesnake, the haptic feedback accurately adds vibration to specific parts of the controller. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, 2 Mar. 2022 Plus, like the DualSense controller, the Sense controller features haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 22 Feb. 2022 But sometimes, haptic gloves or treadmills are also required. Sergei Vardomatski, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 In addition, certain vehicle functions can also be controlled via haptic touch or hand gestures. Laura Burstein, Robb Report, 3 Sep. 2021 These smooth plastic touchpads provide vibrating haptic feedback—which may not be all that palpable in a 315-hp sport compact on rim-hugging summer tires. Dan Neil, WSJ, 27 Jan. 2022 See More

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

1860, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for haptic

back-formation from haptics

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Haptic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haptic. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for haptic


hap·​tic | \ ˈhap-tik How to pronounce haptic (audio) \
variants: also haptical \ -​ti-​kəl How to pronounce haptic (audio) \

Medical Definition of haptic

1 : relating to or based on the sense of touch the haptic mode of perception— Colin Gordon
2 : characterized by a predilection for the sense of touch a haptic person


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