American English

Definition of touch verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they touch
    he / she / it touches
    past simple touched
    -ing form touching
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    with hand/part of body
  1. 1[transitive] touch somebody/something to put your hand or another part of your body onto someone or something Don't touch that plate—it's hot! Can you touch your toes? (= bend and reach them with your hands) I touched him lightly on the arm. He has hardly touched the ball all game. (figurative) I must do some more work on that article—I haven't touched it all week.
  2. no space between
  3. 2[intransitive, transitive] (of two or more things, surfaces, etc.) to be or come so close together that there is no space between Make sure the wires don't touch. touch something Don't let your coat touch the wet paint. His coat was so long it was almost touching the floor. The dancer's feet hardly seemed to touch the ground.
  4. move something/hit someone
  5. 3[transitive] (often in negative sentences) touch something/somebody to move something, especially in such a way that you damage it; to hit or harm someone I told you not to touch my things. He said I kicked him, but I never touched him!
  6. eat/drink/use
  7. 4[transitive] (usually in negative sentences) touch something to eat, drink, or use something You've hardly touched your food. He hasn't touched the money his aunt left him.
  8. affect someone or something
  9. 5[transitive] touch somebody/something (to do something) to make someone feel upset or sympathetic Her story touched us all deeply. What he said really touched my heart.
  10. 6[transitive] touch somebody/something (old-fashioned or formal) to affect or concern someone or something These are issues that touch us all.
  11. equal someone
  12. 7[transitive] (usually in negative sentences) touch somebody to be as good as someone in skill, quality, etc. No one can touch him when it comes to interior design.
  13. reach level
  14. 8[transitive] touch something to reach a particular level, etc. The speedometer was touching 90.
  15. be involved with
  16. 9[transitive] touch something/somebody to become connected with or work with a situation or person Everything she touches turns to disaster. His last two movies have been complete flops and now no studio will touch him.
  17. of smile
  18. 10[transitive] touch something to be seen on someone's face for a short time A smile touched the corners of his mouth.
  19. Idioms
    be touched with something
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    to have a small amount of a particular quality His hair was touched with gray. Some of her poems are touched with real genius.
    hit/touch a (raw/sensitive) nerve
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    to mention a subject that makes someone feel angry, upset, embarrassed, etc. You touched a raw nerve when you mentioned his first wife.
    not harm/touch a hair on somebody's head
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    to not hurt someone physically in any way
    not touch somebody/something with a ten-foot pole (informal)
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    to refuse to get involved with someone or something or in a particular situation Personally, I wouldn't touch him or his business with a ten-foot pole.
    strike/touch a chord (with somebody)
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    to say or do something that makes people feel sympathy or enthusiasm The speaker had obviously struck a chord with his audience.
    touch base (with somebody) (informal)
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    to make contact with someone again
      touch bottom
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    1. 1to reach the ground at the bottom of an area of water I put my feet down and touched bottom.
    2. 2to reach the worst possible state or condition Her career really touched bottom with that movie.
    Phrasal Verbstouch downtouch somebody for somethingtouch somethingofftouch on/upon somethingtouch somethingup
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: touch