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From Old French tochier (modern toucher), from Vulgar Latin toccare "to knock, strike", probably of imitative origin.



to touch

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to touch (third-person singular simple present touch, present participle es, simple past and past participle -)
  1. (transitive) To make physical contact with; to bring the hand, finger or other part of the body into contact with.
    I touched her face softly.
  2. (transitive) To come into (involuntary) contact with; to meet or intersect.
    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.
    They stood next to each other, their shoulders touching.
  4. (intransitive) To make physical contact with a thing.
    Please can I have a look, if I promise not to touch?
  5. (transitive) To physically affect in specific ways implied by context.
    Frankly, this wood's so strong that sandpaper won't touch it.
  6. (transitive) To physically disturb; to interfere with, molest, or attempt to harm through contact.
    If you touch her, I'll kill you.
  7. (transitive) To consume, or otherwise use.
    Are you all right? You've hardly touched your lunch.
  8. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To affect in a negative way, especially only slightly.
    He had been drinking over lunch, and was clearly touched.
  9. (transitive) To steal, or obtain money; to borrow money from.
    I was running short, so I touched old Bertie for a fiver.
  10. (transitive) To affect emotionally; to bring about tender or painful feelings in.
    Stefan was touched by the song's message of hope.
  11. (transitive) To concern, to have a bearing on.
    Stay out of this, it doesn't touch you in any way.
  12. (transitive) To imbue or endow with a specific quality.
    My grandfather, as many people know, was touched with greatness.
  13. (transitive) To disturb the mental functions of; to make somewhat insane.
    You must be touched if you think I'm taking your advice.
  14. (transitive or Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To sexually excite with the fingers; to finger or masturbate.
    Her parents had caught her touching herself when she was fifteen.
  15. (transitive, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To give royal assent to by touching it with the sceptre.
    The bill was finally touched after many hours of deliberation.
  16. (transitive) To be on the level of.
    • 1928, Dorothy L. Sayers, "The Abominable History of the Man with Copper Fingers", in Lord Peter Views the Body,
      There was his mistress, Maria Morano. I don't think I've ever seen anything to touch her, and when you work for the screen [as I do] you're apt to have a pretty exacting standard of female beauty.

Derived terms





touch (es)
  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.

Derived terms


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