Definition of touch verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//tʌtʃ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//tʌtʃ//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they touch
    BrE BrE//tʌtʃ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//tʌtʃ//
    he / she / it touches
    BrE BrE//ˈtʌtʃɪz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈtʌtʃɪz//
    past simple touched
    BrE BrE//tʌtʃt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//tʌtʃt//
    past participle touched
    BrE BrE//tʌtʃt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//tʌtʃt//
    -ing form touching
    BrE BrE//ˈtʌtʃɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈtʌtʃɪŋ//
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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 somebody/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 somebody
  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 somebody I told you not to touch my things. He said I kicked him, but I never touched him!
  6. affect somebody/something
  7. 4  [transitive] touch somebody/something (to do something) to make somebody feel upset or sympathetic Her story touched us all deeply. What he said really touched my heart.
  8. 5[transitive] touch somebody/something (old-fashioned or formal) to affect or concern somebody/something These are issues that touch us all.
  9. eat/drink/use
  10. 6[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.
  11. equal somebody
  12. 7[transitive] (usually in negative sentences) touch somebody to be as good as somebody 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 somebody’s face for a short time A smile touched the corners of his mouth.
  19. Word OriginMiddle English: the verb from Old French tochier, probably from a Romance word of imitative origin; the noun originally from Old French touche, later (in certain senses) directly from the verb.Extra examples Don’t you dare touch me! He accidentally touched a live wire attached to overhead power cables. He did not actually touch the substance, but may have inhaled it. He touched her gently on the arm. He was close enough to touch her. He wouldn’t let me touch the wound. Her hand reached out to touch his cheek. His fingers briefly touched hers. I want to touch briefly on another aspect of the problem. Photography is merely touched on in the book. Photojournalism and the birth of photography are merely touched on in the book. She hugged him, being careful not to touch his broken wrist. She touched him with her hand. The story touched me very deeply. Their faces were almost touching. Can you touch your toes? Don’t let your coat touch the wet paint. Don’t touch that plate—it’s hot! Even the most remote areas are now directly touched by political, educational and medical advances. I had been touched by his kindness to my aunts. I must do some more work on that article—I haven’t touched it all week. Make sure the wires don’t touch. The dancer’s feet hardly seemed to touch the ground. The life of a shepherd has been only marginally touched by technological change.Idioms
    be touched with something
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    to have a small amount of a particular quality His hair was touched with grey. Some of her poems are touched with real genius.
    catch/touch somebody on the raw
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    (British English) to upset somebody by reminding them of something they are particularly sensitive about
    hit/touch a (raw/sensitive) nerve
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    to mention a subject that makes somebody feel angry, upset, embarrassed, etc. You touched a raw nerve when you mentioned his first wife. See related entries: Embarrassment
    not harm/touch a hair of somebody’s head
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    to not hurt somebody physically in any way
    not touch somebody/something with a bargepole (British English) (North American English not touch somebody/something with a ten-foot pole)
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    (informal) to refuse to get involved with somebody/something or in a particular situation Personally, I wouldn’t touch him or his business with a bargepole.
    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)
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    (informal) to make contact with somebody again
    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.
    touch/tug your forelock (to somebody)
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    (British English, disapproving) to show too much respect for somebody, especially because you are anxious about what they think of you In the past people of the lower classes either took off their hats or pulled on their forelocks to show respect.
    touch wood (British English) (North American English knock on wood)
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    (saying) used when you have just mentioned some way in which you have been lucky in the past, to avoid bringing bad luck I've been driving for over 20 years and never had an accident—touch wood!
    Phrasal Verbstouch downtouch somebody for somethingtouch somethingofftouch on somethingtouch somebodyuptouch somethingup
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: touch