from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Peevish; testy: "As a critic gets older, he or she usually grows more tetchy and limited in responses” ( James Wolcott).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Easily annoyed or irritated; peevish, testy or irascible

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. See techy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. easily irritated or annoyed


Probably from Middle English tache, teche, blemish (influenced by touchy), from Old French tache, teche, from Vulgar Latin *tacca, from Gothic taikns, sign; see deik- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1592, teachie, in Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene iii, line 32. (Wiktionary)



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  • From the verb 'tetch', a variant of the Yiddish 'kvetch'.

    December 16, 2008

  • Wonder about the origin... Something similar to itchy, I presume.

    December 16, 2008