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Perhaps coined by Shakespeare. First use in print in 1592 in the form teachie in Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene iii, line 32. It is uncertain what inspired Shakespeare's or possible other prior use. According to some etymologists, from the obsolete noun tetch ("habit"). According to others, from a variant of Scots tache ("blotch", "fault"). According to others, from Middle English tatch, tache, tecche, teche ‎(blemish), influenced by touchy, from Old French tache, teche (Modern French tache), from Vulgar Latin *tacca, from Gothic 𐍄𐌰𐌹𐌺𐌽𐍃 ‎(taikns, sign) (compare Old English tācen ‎(sign, token), Modern English token), from Proto-Indo-European *deik-.[1][2][3][4][5]



tetchy ‎(comparative tetchier, superlative tetchiest)

  1. Easily annoyed or irritated; peevish, testy or irascible.

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ tetchy” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).
  2. ^ American Heritage Dictionary: "tetchy" etymology
  3. ^ T. F. HOAD. "tetchy." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. 17 Jan. 2010.
  4. ^ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tetchy
  5. ^ http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/tetchy