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

  • transitive v. To cause or permit a part of the body, especially the hand or fingers, to come in contact with so as to feel: reached out and touched the smooth stone.
  • transitive v. To bring something into light contact with: touched the sore spot with a probe.
  • transitive v. To bring (one thing) into light contact with something else: grounded the radio by touching a wire to it; touching fire to a fuse.
  • transitive v. To press or push lightly; tap: touched a control to improve the TV picture; touched 19 on the phone to get room service.
  • transitive v. To lay hands on in violence: I never touched him!
  • transitive v. To eat or drink; taste: She didn't touch her food.
  • transitive v. To disturb or move by handling: Just don't touch anything in my room!
  • transitive v. To meet without going beyond; adjoin: the ridge where his property touches mine.
  • transitive v. Mathematics To be tangent to.
  • transitive v. To come up to; reach: when the thermometer touches 90°.
  • transitive v. To match in quality; equal: Rival artists can't touch her work at its best.
  • transitive v. To deal with, especially in passing; treat briefly or allusively: some remarks touching recent events.
  • transitive v. To be pertinent to; concern: environmental problems that touch us all.
  • transitive v. To affect the emotions of; move to tender response: an appeal that touched us deeply.
  • transitive v. To injure slightly: plants touched by frost.
  • transitive v. To color slightly; tinge: a white petal touched with pink.
  • transitive v. To draw with light strokes.
  • transitive v. To change or improve by adding fine lines or strokes.
  • transitive v. To stamp (tested metal).
  • transitive v. Slang To wheedle a loan or handout from: touched a friend for five dollars.
  • transitive v. Archaic To strike or pluck the keys or strings of (a musical instrument).
  • transitive v. To play (a musical piece).
  • intransitive v. To touch someone or something.
  • intransitive v. To be or come into contact: Don't let the live wires touch.
  • n. The act or an instance of touching.
  • n. The physiological sense by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the body.
  • n. A sensation experienced in touching something with a characteristic texture: felt the touch of snowflakes on her face.
  • n. A light push; a tap: an electric switch that requires just a touch.
  • n. A discernible mark or effect left by contact with something.
  • n. A small change or addition, or the effect achieved by it: Candlelight provided just the right touch.
  • n. A suggestion, hint, or tinge: a touch of jealousy.
  • n. A mild attack: a touch of the flu.
  • n. A small amount; a dash: a touch of paprika.
  • n. A manner or technique of striking the keys of a keyboard instrument: He played briskly with a light touch.
  • n. The resistance to pressure characteristic of the keys of a keyboard: an old piano with uneven touch.
  • n. An ability to propel a ball a desired distance: a golfer with no touch around the green.
  • n. A facility; a knack: retained his touch as a carpenter in his retirement.
  • n. A characteristic way of doing things: recognized my friend's touch in the choice of the card.
  • n. The state of being in contact or communication: kept in touch with several classmates; out of touch with current trends.
  • n. An official stamp indicating the quality of a metal product.
  • n. Slang The act of approaching someone for a loan or handout.
  • n. Slang A prospect for a loan or handout: a generous person, a soft touch for beggars.
  • n. Sports The area just outside the sidelines in soccer or just outside and including the sidelines in Rugby.
  • touch down To make contact with the ground; land: The spacecraft touched down on schedule.
  • touch off To cause to explode; fire.
  • touch off To initiate; trigger: disclosures that touched off a public uproar.
  • touch off To describe or portray with deft precision.
  • on To deal with (a topic) in passing.
  • on To pertain to; concern.
  • on To approach being; verge on: frenzy that touched on clinical insanity.
  • touch up To improve by making minor corrections, changes, or additions.
  • idiom base Informal To renew a line of communication: "He went out of his way to touch base with a broad cross section of . . . residents” ( George B. Merry).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. Primarily physical senses.
  • v. Primarily non-physical senses.
  • n. An act of touching, especially with the hand or finger.
  • n. The faculty or sense of perception by physical contact.
  • n. The style or technique with which one plays a musical instrument.
  • n. A distinguishing feature or characteristic.
  • n. A little bit; a small amount.
  • n. The part of a sports field beyond the touchlines or goal-lines.
  • n. A relationship of close communication or understanding.
  • n. An ability to perform a task

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of touching, or the state of being touched; contact.
  • n. The sense by which pressure or traction exerted on the skin is recognized; the sense by which the properties of bodies are determined by contact; the tactile sense. See Tactile sense, under Tactile.
  • n. Act or power of exciting emotion.
  • n. An emotion or affection.
  • n. Personal reference or application.
  • n. A stroke.
  • n. A single stroke on a drawing or a picture.
  • n. Feature; lineament; trait.
  • n. The act of the hand on a musical instrument; bence, in the plural, musical notes.
  • n. A small quantity intermixed; a little; a dash.
  • n. A hint; a suggestion; slight notice.
  • n. A slight and brief essay.
  • n. A touchstone; hence, stone of the sort used for touchstone.
  • n. Hence, examination or trial by some decisive standard; test; proof; tried quality.
  • n. The particular or characteristic mode of action, or the resistance of the keys of an instrument to the fingers; ; also, the manner of touching, striking, or pressing the keys of a piano.
  • n. The broadest part of a plank worked top and but (see Top and but, under Top, n.), or of one worked anchor-stock fashion (that is, tapered from the middle to both ends); also, the angles of the stern timbers at the counters.
  • n. That part of the field which is beyond the line of flags on either side.
  • n. A boys' game; tag.
  • n. A set of changes less than the total possible on seven bells, that is, less than 5,040.
  • n. An act of borrowing or stealing.
  • n. Tallow; -- a plumber's term.
  • intransitive v. To be in contact; to be in a state of junction, so that no space is between.
  • intransitive v. To fasten; to take effect; to make impression.
  • intransitive v. To treat anything in discourse, especially in a slight or casual manner; -- often with on or upon.
  • intransitive v. To be brought, as a sail, so close to the wind that its weather leech shakes.
  • transitive v. To come in contact with; to hit or strike lightly against; to extend the hand, foot, or the like, so as to reach or rest on.
  • transitive v. To perceive by the sense of feeling.
  • transitive v. To come to; to reach; to attain to.
  • transitive v. To try; to prove, as with a touchstone.
  • transitive v. To relate to; to concern; to affect.
  • transitive v. To handle, speak of, or deal with; to treat of.
  • transitive v. To meddle or interfere with.
  • transitive v. To affect the senses or the sensibility of; to move; to melt; to soften; especially, to cause feelings of pity, compassion, sympathy, or gratitude in.
  • transitive v. To mark or delineate with touches; to add a slight stroke to with the pencil or brush.
  • transitive v. To infect; to affect slightly.
  • transitive v. To make an impression on; to have effect upon.
  • transitive v. To strike; to manipulate; to play on.
  • transitive v. To perform, as a tune; to play.
  • transitive v. To influence by impulse; to impel forcibly.
  • transitive v. To harm, afflict, or distress.
  • transitive v. To affect with insanity, especially in a slight degree; to make partially insane; -- rarely used except in the past participle.
  • transitive v. To be tangent to. See Tangent, a.
  • transitive v. To lay a hand upon for curing disease.
  • transitive v. To compare with; to be equal to; -- usually with a negative.
  • transitive v. To induce to give or lend; to borrow from; ; hence, to steal from.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To ask from; borrow or obtain from: as, to touch an acquaintance for a dollar.
  • To perceive (an object) by means of physical contact with it; especially, to perceive (an object) by bringing the hand into contact with it; hence, to perceive (an object) by bringing something held in the hand (as a cane or a pointer), or otherwise connected with the body, into contact with it.
  • To be in contact with; specifically, in geometry, to be tangent to. See tangent.
  • To come in contact with: literally or figuratively.
  • To be near or contiguous to; impinge or border upon; hence, to come up to; approach; reach; attain to; hence, also, to compare with.
  • To bring into contact.
  • To bring the hand, finger, or the like into contact with; place the hand or finger to or upon; hit or strike gently or lightly; give a slight tap or pat to with the hand, the tip of the finger, something held in the hand, or in any way: as, to touch the hat or cap in salutation; to touch a sore spot; to touch a piece at chess; formerly, in a specific use, to lay the hand or finger upon for the purpose of curing of a disease, especially scrofula, or the disease called the king's evil (a former practice of the sovereigns of France and England).
  • To handle; meddle with; interfere with.
  • To lay hands on for the purpose of harming; hence, to hurt, injure, annoy, or distress.
  • To test by contact, as in trying gold with a touchstone; hence, to test; try; probe.
  • To touch upon; handle or treat lightly or cursorily; refer or allude to, as in passing.
  • To communicate; speak; tell; rehearse; relate; mention.
  • Of a musical instrument, to cause to sound; play: usually applied to instruments that are sounded by striking or twanging, but extended to others.
  • To perform on an instrument, as a piece of music.
  • To paint or form by touches or strokes as of a pen or brush; mark or delineate by light touches or strokes, as an artist.
  • To improve or finish, as a drawing, by adding a stroke here and there, as with a pen, pencil, or brush; retouch: usually with up.
  • To take, as food, drink, etc.; help one's self to; hence, to partake of; taste.
  • To infect or impair by contact; stain; blot; blemish; taint.
  • To impair mentally in some slight degree; affect slightly with craziness: used chiefly in the past participle.
  • To attack; hence, to animadvert upon; take to task; censure; reprove; ridicule.
  • To sting; nettle, as with some sharp speech.
  • To fall upon; strike; affect; impress.
  • To affect or move mentally or emotionally; fill with passion or tender feeling; affect or move, as with pity; hence, to melt; soften.
  • To make an impression on; have an effect on; act on.
  • To influence by impulse; impel forcibly.
  • To affect; concern; relate to.
  • To swindle; cheat; act dishonestly by: as, to touch one's mate.
  • To discharge, as a cannon.
  • To remind; jog the memory of.
  • To be in contact; be in a state of junction, so that no appreciable space is between: as, two spheres touch only in one point.
  • Specifically To lay the hand or finger upon a person for the purpose of curing a disease, especially scrofula, or king's evil.
  • To reach; extend.
  • To make a passing call, as a ship on a voyage: commonly with at, rarely with on.
  • To mention or treat something slightly in discourse; refer cursorily or in passing: commonly with on or upon.
  • To bow or salute by touching the hat or cap.
  • To rob.
  • To stand the test.
  • To have or take effect; act.
  • Nautical, of the sails of a square-rigged vessel, to be in such a position that their weather-leeches shake from the ship being steered so close to the wind.
  • Nautical, to graze the bottom with the keel for a moment, as a vessel under sail, without lessening of the speed.
  • n. In medicine, palpation, especially examination of the cavities of the body by the finger.
  • n. In sugar manufacturing, See string-proof.
  • n. A theft; pocket-picking.
  • n. That sense by which mechanical pressure upon the surface of the body (the skin, with the lips, the interior of the mouth, etc.) is perceived; sensibility to pressure, weight, and muscular resistance; the sense of feeling; taction. With this is sometimes reckoned sensibility to temperature. The sense of touch is most acute in those parts of the body that are freely movable, especially in the tips of the fingers. It is the most fundamental and least specialized or localized of the senses. See tactile corpuscles, under corpuscle.
  • n. Mental or moral feeling; moral perception or appreciation.
  • n. Contact.
  • n. Figuratively, a close relation of mutual confidence, sympathy, interest, or the like; sympathy; accord or harmony in relation to common interests: as, to be out of touch with the times; to keep in touch with the people.
  • n. Pressure, or application of pressure; impaet; a slight stroke, tap, push, or the like: often used figuratively.
  • n. A slight or brief sound.
  • n. The impression conveyed to the mind by contact or pressure; effect on the sense of contact with something; feel: as, an object with a slimy touch.
  • n. A jog; a hint; a reminder; a slight experience.
  • n. A stroke or dash as with a pen, pencil, or brush, literally or figuratively: as, a touch of bright color; also, any slight added effort or action, such as that expended on some completed work in order to give it finish.
  • n. Figuratively, something resembling a light stroke or touch.
  • n. A shade; a trifle; a slight quantity or degree.
  • n. A taint; a blemish; a defect; an impairment.
  • n. A slight attack or stroke; a twinge; a pang; a feeling: as, a touch of rheumatism.
  • n. A momentary manifestation or exhibition; an indication; a view; a peep; a glimpse.
  • n. A trait or feature; a prominent or outstanding quality or characteristic.
  • n. Manner; style; bearing.
  • n. The skill or nicety with which a performer uses his instrument; the peculiar manner in which an author uses his pen, an artist his brush, or a workman his tools; characteristic skill or method of handling by which the artist or workman may be known; execution; manipulation; finish.
  • n. In pianoforte -and organ-playing, a method of depressing a digital or pedal so as to produce a tone of a particular quality.
  • n. Make; style; sort.
  • n. A thing, or a style of thing, involving the expenditure of a particular sum, or obtainable for such a sum: as, a penny touch.
  • n. A musical note or strain.
  • n. Attack; animadversion; censure; blame.
  • n. Personal reference or allusion; personality.
  • n. A touchstone; that by which anything is examined; a test, as of gold by a touchstone; a proof; a criterion; an assay; hence, the stamp applied by the Goldsmiths' Company to a piece of plate testifying to its fineness: as, a gilt piece of the old touch (that is, of the stamp formerly in use).
  • n. Some stone of a very durable character, suitable for preserving inscriptions or for fine monumental work.
  • n. In ship-building, the broadest part of a plank worked top and butt, or the middle of a plank worked anchor-stock fashion; also, the angles of the stern-timbers at the counters.
  • n. In magnetism, the magnetization of a steel bar or needle by repeated contact with one or more magnets: single, double, and separate touch describe different methods.
  • n. In bell-ringing, a partial series of changes.
  • n. Same as toccata.
  • n. (b ) To keep faith or one's appointment or engagement; fulfil one's duty or functions.

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

  • v. be in direct physical contact with; make contact
  • n. the faculty by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the body (especially the hands)
  • v. make physical contact with, come in contact with
  • v. affect emotionally
  • v. deal with; usually used with a form of negation
  • n. the act of soliciting money (as a gift or loan)
  • n. a slight attack of illness
  • n. a communicative interaction
  • v. to extend as far as
  • n. a slight but appreciable amount
  • v. perceive via the tactile sense
  • v. color lightly
  • n. a distinguishing style
  • v. tamper with
  • v. have an effect upon
  • n. the event of something coming in contact with the body
  • n. the sensation produced by pressure receptors in the skin
  • n. deftness in handling matters
  • v. be equal to in quality or ability
  • n. the feel of mechanical action


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

Middle English touchen, from Old French touchier, ultimately from Vulgar Latin *toccāre.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English touchen, tochen, from Old French tochier ("to touch"; > Modern French toucher; compare French doublet toquer ("to offend, bother, harass")), from Vulgar Latin *toccāre (“to knock, strike, offend”), from Old Frankish *tokkōn, *tukkōn (“to knock, strike, touch”), from Proto-Germanic *tukkōnan, *tukkijanan (“to draw, jerk, knock, strike, offend”), from Proto-Indo-European *dukn-, *dewk- (“to draw, pull, lead”). Cognate with Old High German zochhōn, zuhhōn ("to grasp, take, seize, snatch"; > German zucken ("to jerk, flinch")), Low German tokken, tukken ("to fidget, twitch, pull up, entice"), Middle Dutch tocken, tucken ("to touch, entice"; > Dutch tokkelen ("to strum, pluck")), Old English tucian, tūcian ("to disturb, mistreat, ill-treat; offend; afflict, harass, vex; punish, torment"; > English tuck). Compare also Old Frisian tetzia, tetsia ("to seize, appropriate to oneself"), Gothic 𐍄𐌴𐌺𐌰𐌽 (tekan, "to touch"), Old Norse taka ("to touch, grasp"), Middle Low German tacken ("to touch"), Old English tacan ("to touch, take"). Cognate to Albanian cek ("to touch"). More at tuck, take.


  • It seemed to take him a long time to touch bottom, and when he had, he wondered if _touch_ was quite the word.

    Out Like a Light

  • By means of the nerves terminating in the touch corpuscles, the skin serves as the _organ of touch_, or feeling

    Physiology and Hygiene for Secondary Schools

  • "So brilliant," said she, "so short-lived, as my friend Lady Emmeline K---- once said, 'London wit is like gas, which lights at a touch, and at a touch can be extinguished;'" and Lady Davenant concluded with a compliment to him who was known to have this "_touch and go_" of good conversation to perfection.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 10

  • Slide 9: Word Work  un+ touch+ ed = untouched - not to touch  un + know +

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  • I gotta put my hands on those motors -- touch 'em -- I mean really _touch 'em_ -- then I know what to do! "

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  • Seventy-one percent report that keeping in touch is easier, 53% report it improves communication, and 45% report that family relationships overall are improved with the Internet.

    Web Teacher › Norton Online Living Report for 2009

  • Running away without keeping in touch is something that a 19 year old fry cook at Dennys would do, but a governor?

    Sanford to return to work Wednesday, staff says

  • I don't actually follow Northern Irish news all that closely these days, but one of the ways I keep in touch is to read the weekly political update from lobbying firm Chambré Public Affairs (I still feel a bit guilty about nearly putting the author's eye out with an arrow from a toy bow when he was five and I was six).

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  • Why my fellow award winners and nominees have not kept in touch is beyond me.

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  • We were in touch from the start with archivists at the presidential libraries.



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