• Touch



    From Middle English touchen, tochen, from Old French tochier

    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 *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

    German zucken ("to jerk, flinch")}, Low German tokken, tukken ("to fidget, twitch, pull up, entice"), Middle Dutch tocken, tucken

    Dutch tokkelen ("to strum, pluck")}, Old English tucian, tūcian

    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"). Outside Germanic, cognate to Albanian cek ("to touch"). More at tuck, take.

    Full definition of touch


    1. Primarily physical senses.
      1. (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.
      2. (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.
      3. (intransitive) To come into physical contact, or to be in physical contact. from 14th c.They stood next to each other, their shoulders touching.
      4. (intransitive) To make physical contact with a thing. from 14th c.Please can I have a look, if I promise not to touch?
      5. (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, 29Let us make a covenant with thee, that thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee.
      6. (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.
      7. (transitive) To consume, or otherwise use. from 15th c.Are you all right? You've hardly touched your lunch.
      8. (intransitive) Of a ship or its passengers: to land, to make a short stop (at). from 16th c.
        • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick: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.
      9. (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.
      10. (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.
      11. (intransitive, obsolete) To fasten; to take effect; to make impression.
        • Francis BaconStrong waters pierce metals, and will touch upon gold, that will not touch upon silver.
      12. (nautical) To bring (a sail) so close to the wind that its weather leech shakes.
      13. (intransitive, nautical) To be brought, as a sail, so close to the wind that its weather leech shakes.
      14. (nautical) To keep the ship as near (the wind) as possible.to touch the wind
      15. Primarily non-physical senses.
        1. (transitive) To imbue or endow with a specific quality. from 14th c.My grandfather, as many people know, was touched with greatness.
        2. (transitive, archaic) To deal with in speech or writing; to mention briefly, to allude to. from 14th c.
          • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, I.2.4.vii: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.
        3. (intransitive) To deal with in speech or writing; briefly to speak or write (on or upon something). from 14th c.
        4. (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.
          • 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.
          • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 1, 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.
        5. (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.
        6. (transitive, dated) To affect in a negative way, especially only slightly. from 16th c.He had been drinking over lunch, and was clearly touched.
        7. (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.
        8. (transitive) 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.
        9. (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.
        10. (transitive) To be on the level of; to approach in excellence or quality. from 19th c.
        11. (transitive, computing) To mark (a file or document) as having been modified.
        12. To try; to prove, as with a touchstone.
          • ShakespeareI mean to touch your love indeed.
        13. To mark or delineate with touches; to add a slight stroke to with the pencil or brush.
          • Alexander PopeThe lines, though touched but faintly, are drawn right.
        14. (obsolete) To infect; to affect slightly.
        15. To strike; to manipulate; to play on.to touch an instrument of music
          • MiltonThey touched their golden harps.
        16. To perform, as a tune; to play.
          • Sir Walter ScottA person in the royal retinue touched a light and lively air on the flageolet.
        17. To influence by impulse; to impel forcibly.
          • MiltonNo decree of mine, ... to touch with lightest moment of impulse his free will.



    (plural touches)
    1. An act of touching, especially with the hand or finger.Suddenly, in the crowd, I felt a touch at my shoulder.
    2. The faculty or sense of perception by physical contact.With the lights out, she had to rely on touch to find her desk.
    3. The style or technique with which one plays a musical instrument.He performed one of Ravel's piano concertos with a wonderfully light and playful touch.
    4. A distinguishing feature or characteristic.Clever touches like this are what make her such a brilliant writer.
    5. A little bit; a small amount.Move it left just a touch and it will be perfect.
    6. The part of a sports field beyond the touchlines or goal-lines.He got the ball, and kicked it straight out into touch.
    7. A relationship of close communication or understanding.He promised to keep in touch while he was away.
    8. 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, 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.


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