English [ edit ]
Etymology [ edit ]
Middle English , touchen , from tochen Old French tochier ( "to touch"; > Modern French ; compare toucher doublet French ( 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 , *tukkōną ( *tukkijaną “ 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 ). Outside Germanic, cognate to Albanian ( cek “ to touch ”). More at tuck, take.
Pronunciation [ edit ]
touch ( third-person singular simple present , touches present participle , touching simple past and past participle ) touched
Primarily physical senses.
( transitive ) To make physical contact with; to bring the hand, finger or other part of the body into contact with. [from 14th c.]
I touched her face softly.
( transitive ) To come into (involuntary) contact with; to meet or intersect. [from 14th c.]
Sitting on the bench, the hem of her skirt touched the ground.
( intransitive ) To come into physical contact, or to be in physical contact. [from 14th c.]
They stood next to each other, their shoulders touching.
( intransitive ) To make physical contact with a thing. [from 14th c.]
Please can I have a look, if I promise not to touch?
( transitive ) To physically disturb; to interfere with, molest, or attempt to harm through contact. [from 14th c.]
If you touch her, I'll kill you.
Bible, Genesis xxvi. 28, 29
Let us make a covenant with thee, that thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not
( transitive ) To physically affect in specific ways implied by context. [from 15th c.]
Frankly, this wood's so strong that sandpaper won't touch it.
( transitive ) To consume, or otherwise use. [from 15th c.]
Are you all right? You've hardly touched your lunch.
: 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, The Unknown Ajax
But Richmond [… ] appeared to lose himself in his own reflections. Some pickled crab, which he had not touched, had been removed with a damson pie; and his sister saw [… ] that he had eaten no more than a spoonful of that either.
( intransitive ) Of a ship or its passengers: to land, to make a short stop (at). [from 16th c.]
1851, Herman Melville, :
Now a certain grand merchant ship once
touched at Rokovoko, and its commander — from all accounts, a very stately punctilious gentleman, at least for a sea captain — this commander was invited to the wedding feast of Queequeg's sister, a pretty young princess just turned of ten.
( transitive , now historical ) To lay hands on (someone suffering from scrofula) as a form of cure, as formerly practised by English and French monarchs. [from 17th c.]
1971, Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society (2012), page 189:
But in fact the English kings of the seventeenth century usually began to
touch form the day of their accession, without waiting for any such consecration.
( transitive or reflexive ) To sexually excite with the fingers; to finger or masturbate. [from 20th c.]
Her parents had caught her touching herself when she was fifteen.
( intransitive , obsolete ) To fasten; to take effect; to make impression.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
Strong waters pierce metals, and will
touch upon gold, that will not touch upon silver.
( nautical ) To bring (a sail) so close to the wind that its weather leech shakes.
( intransitive , nautical ) To be brought, as a sail, so close to the wind that its weather leech shakes.
( nautical ) To keep the ship as near (the wind) as possible.
to touch the wind Primarily non-physical senses.
( transitive ) To imbue or endow with a specific quality. [from 14th c.]
My grandfather, as many people know, was touched with greatness.
( transitive , archaic ) To deal with in speech or writing; to mention briefly, to allude to. [from 14th c.]
1621, Robert Burton, , I.2.4.vii:
The Anatomy of Melancholy
Next to sorrow still I may annex such accidents as procure fear; for besides those terrors which I have before
touched, [… ] there is a superstitious fear [… ] which much trouble many of us.
( intransitive ) To deal with in speech or writing; briefly to speak or write ( on or upon something). [from 14th c.]
( transitive ) To concern, to have to do with. [14th-19th c.]
1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Acts V:
Men of Israhell take hede to youreselves what ye entende to do as
touchinge these men.
: 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, The Celebrity
The stories did not seem to me to touch life. They were plainly intended to have a bracing moral effect, and perhaps had this result for the people at whom they were aimed. They left me with the impression of a well-delivered stereopticon lecture, with characters about as life-like as the shadows on the screen, and whisking on and off, at the mercy of the operator.
1919, Saki, ‘The Penance’, The Toys of Peace, Penguin 2000 ( Complete Short Stories , p. 423:
And now it seemed he was engaged in something which
touched them closely, but must be hidden from their knowledge.
( transitive ) To affect emotionally; to bring about tender or painful feelings in. [from 14th c.]
Stefan was touched by the song's message of hope.
( transitive , dated ) To affect in a negative way, especially only slightly. [from 16th c.]
He had been drinking over lunch, and was clearly touched.
( transitive , Scottish history ) To give royal assent to by touching it with the sceptre. [from 17th c.]
The bill was finally touched after many hours of deliberation.
( transitive , slang ) To obtain money from, usually by borrowing (from a friend). [from 18th c.]
I was running short, so I touched old Bertie for a fiver.
( transitive , always passive ) To disturb the mental functions of; to make somewhat insane; often followed with "in the head". [from 18th c.]
You must be touched if you think I'm taking your advice.
( transitive ) To be on the level of; to approach in excellence or quality. [from 19th c.]
( transitive , computing ) To mark (a file or document) as having been modified. To try; to prove, as with a
To mark or delineate with touches; to add a slight stroke to with the pencil or brush.
Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
The lines, though
touched but faintly, are drawn right.
( obsolete ) To infect; to affect slightly.
(Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?) To strike; to manipulate; to play on.
to touch an instrument of music
John Milton (1608-1674)
touched their golden harps. To perform, as a tune; to play.
Walter Scott (1771-1832)
A person in the royal retinue
touched a light and lively air on the flageolet. To influence by impulse; to impel forcibly.
John Milton (1608-1674)
No decree of mine,
[… ] [to] touch with lightest moment of impulse his free will.
Derived terms [ edit ]
Terms derived from
Translations [ edit ]
, berøre røre (no) Polish:
wzruszać , impf wzruszyć , pf poruszać (pl) , impf poruszyć (pl) , pf dotykać (pl) , impf dotknąć (pl) pf Portuguese:
tocar (pt) Romanian:
emoționa (ro) Russian:
волнова́ть (ru) ( impf volnovátʹ), взволнова́ть (ru) ( pf vzvolnovátʹ), растро́гать (ru) ( pf rastrógatʹ), тро́гать (ru) ( impf trógatʹ), тро́нуть (ru) ( pl trónutʹ) Serbo-Croatian:
dírati (sh) Spanish:
tocar (es) Swedish:
röra (sv) Telugu:
తాకు ( (te) tāku), ( స్పర్శించు sparśiṃcu) Turkish:
dokunmak (tr) Ukrainian:
звору́шуватися ( impf zvorúšuvatysja)
touch ( plural ) touches
An act of touching, especially with the
hand or finger.
Suddenly, in the crowd, I felt a touch at my shoulder. The faculty or sense of perception by physical contact.
With the lights out, she had to rely on touch to find her desk. The style or technique with which one plays a
He performed one of Ravel's piano concertos with a wonderfully light and playful touch. A distinguishing feature or characteristic.
Clever touches like this are what make her such a brilliant writer. A little bit; a small amount.
Move it left just a touch and it will be perfect.
Madam, I have a
touch of your condition. The part of a sports field beyond the
touchlines or goal-lines.
He got the ball, and kicked it straight out into touch. A relationship of close communication or understanding.
He promised to keep in touch while he was away. The ability to perform a task well; aptitude.
I used to be a great chess player but I've lost my touch.
2011 September 29, Jon Smith, “Tottenham 3 - 1 Shamrock Rovers” ,  BBC Sport:
Rovers' hopes of pulling off one of the great European shocks of all time lasted just 10 minutes before Spurs finally found their scoring touch.
( obsolete ) Act or power of exciting emotion.
Not alone / The death of Fulvia, with more urgent
touches, / Do strongly speak to us.
( obsolete ) An emotion or affection.
a true, natural, and a sensible
touch of mercy
( obsolete ) Personal reference or application.
touch toward others should be sparingly used. A single stroke on a drawing or a picture.
Never give the least
touch with your pencil till you have well examined your design.
( obsolete ) A brief essay.
Print my preface in such form as, in the booksellers' phrase, will make a sixpenny
( obsolete ) A touchstone; hence, stone of the sort used for touchstone.
Now do I play the
a neat new monument of
touch and alabaster
( obsolete ) Examination or trial by some decisive standard; test; proof; tried quality.
equity, the true
touch of all laws Shakespeare
friends of noble
( music ) The particular or characteristic mode of action, or the resistance of the keys of an instrument to the fingers.
a heavy touch, or a light touch
( shipbuilding ) The broadest part of a plank worked top and but, 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.
(Can we find and add a quotation of J. Knowles to this entry?) The children's game of
( bell-ringing ) A set of changes less than the total possible on seven bells, i.e. less than 5,040.
( slang ) An act of borrowing or stealing something.
( Britain , plumbing , dated ) tallow
Derived terms [ edit ]
Terms derived from
Translations [ edit ]
ability to perform a task
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
Translations to be checked
(please verify) ( 触 chù) Dutch:
( 1 ) , (please verify) aanraking f ( 1,2 ) (please verify) contact n Esperanto:
( 1 ) , (please verify) tuŝo ( 2 ) (please verify) kontakto Indonesian:
(please verify) sentuhan , (please verify) rabaan , (please verify) persinggungan Italian:
( 1,3 ) , (please verify) tatto m ( 2 ) (please verify) contatto m Spanish:
( 1 ) , (please verify) toque m ( 1 ) , (please verify) tacto m ( 2 ) (please verify) contacto m Ukrainian:
(1), (please verify) до́тик ( m dótyk) (1), (please verify) до́торк ( m dótork) (2), (please verify) конта́кт ( m kontákt) (3) (please verify) чуття́ до́тику ( n čuttjá dótyku)
Statistics [ edit ]
Anagrams [ edit ]