To touch is to come in contact with something, especially using your fingers. When your friend dares you to touch her pet spider, you'll find out what's stronger — your fear of spiders or your fear of looking like a wimp.

The verb touch also means to emotionally affect. At your grandparents' fiftieth anniversary party, it might touch you to see how much they clearly still love each other. The noun touch can mean a hint of something, or just a small amount. You might have a touch of a cold, but it isn't enough to keep you home in bed.

Definitions of touch
  1. verb
    make physical contact with, come in contact with
    Touch the stone for good luck”
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    get caught
    touch with the toe
    pick up
    take up by hand
    hit, strike
    produce by manipulating keys or strings of musical instruments, also metaphorically
    finger, thumb
    feel or handle with the fingers
    feel, palpate
    examine (a body part) by palpation
    handle, palm
    touch, lift, or hold with the hands
    touch lightly and repeatedly, as with brushing motions
    collide with, hit, impinge on, run into, strike
    hit against; come into sudden contact with
    touch lightly and briefly
    skim, skim over
    move or pass swiftly and lightly over the surface of
    deal a blow to, either with the hand or with an instrument
    deliver a sharp blow, as with the hand, fist, or weapon
    buss, kiss, osculate, snog
    touch with the lips or press the lips (against someone's mouth or other body part) as an expression of love, greeting, etc.
    touch lightly or gently
    touch with the mouth
    exert pressure or force to or upon
    touch a player while he is holding the ball
    strike (one's toe) accidentally against an object
    become rigid or immoveable
    catch or pick up (balls) in baseball or cricket
    handle clumsily
    hold something in one's hands and move it
    caress, fondle
    touch or stroke lightly in a loving or endearing manner
    strike or punch with quick and short blows
    dab, pat
    hit lightly
    bunt, butt
    to strike, thrust or shove against
    hit with a pinging noise
    bang, spang
    leap, jerk, bang
    collide with the rear end of
    collide with the broad side of
    strike with the flat of the hand; usually in a friendly way, as in encouragement or greeting
    land on or hit solidly
    strike with a sound like that of falling rain
    strike with a dull sound
    strike the ground, as with a ship's bottom
    bottom out
    hit the ground
    knock, strike hard
    deliver a sharp blow or push :"He knocked the glass clear across the room"
    bump, knock
    knock against with force or violence
    cut down, down, knock down, pull down, push down
    cause to come or go down
    bump into, butt against, jar against, knock against, run into
    collide violently with an obstacle
    crease, graze, rake
    scrape gently
    strike with a spur
    touch or hit with a light, quick blow
    bang, slam
    strike violently
    lace into, lam into, lay into, pitch into, tear into
    hit violently, as in an attack
    beak, peck, pick
    hit lightly with a picking motion
    tap, tip
    strike lightly
    strike with an axe; cut down, strike
    strike from the side
    strike with the foot
    strike with a swiping motion
    inflict a heavy blow on, with the hand, a tool, or a weapon
    hit with a hook
    hit swiftly with a violent blow
    bash, bonk, bop, sock, whap, whop
    hit hard
    lash, whip
    strike as if by whipping
    hit repeatedly
    strike (a part of one's own body) repeatedly, as in great emotion or in accompaniment to music
    hit on the head, especially with a pitched baseball
    hit or strike
    catch, get
    reach with a blow or hit in a particular spot
    hit, especially on the head
    hit with a cosh, usually on the head
    hit on the head
    blast, boom, nail, smash
    hit hard
    hit forcefully; deal a hard blow, making a cracking noise
    sandbag, stun
    hit something or somebody as if with a sandbag
    strike (the ground) in making a sclaff
    handle roughly
    strike hard, especially with the fist
    strike with, or as if with a baseball bat
    use a bat
    have a turn at bat
    hit (a ball) with a spin so that it turns in the opposite direction
    knap, rap
    strike sharply
    poke, pound, thump
    hit hard with the hand, fist, or some heavy instrument
    smack, thwack
    deliver a hard blow to
    deliver a blow to
    plug, punch
    deliver a quick blow to
    strike sharply, as in some sports
    slog, slug, swig
    strike heavily, especially with the fist or a bat
    wallop, whack, wham, whop
    hit hard
    biff, pommel, pummel
    strike, usually with the fist
    hit with something flat, like a paddle or the open hand
    strike (a golf ball) such that the ground is scraped first
    buff, buffet
    strike, beat repeatedly
    batter, buffet, knock about
    strike against forcefully
    hit with the fist
    bludgeon, club
    strike with a club or a bludgeon
    cudgel, fustigate
    strike with a cudgel
    peck, smack
    kiss lightly
    lap, lick
    pass the tongue over
    press firmly
    clash, collide
    crash together with violent impact
    crush, mash, squash, squeeze, squelch
    compress with violence, out of natural shape or condition
    cranch, craunch, crunch, grind
    press or grind with a crushing noise
    bear down, bear down on, drag down, press down on, weigh down
    exert a force with a heavy weight
    tag the base runner to get him out
    press or rub with the knuckles
    press against forcefully without moving
    hit at an angle
  2. verb
    perceive via the tactile sense
    “Helen Keller felt the physical world by touching people and objects around her”
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    type of:
    comprehend, perceive
    become aware of through the senses
  3. verb
    cause to be in brief contact with
    “He touched his toes to the horse's flanks”
  4. verb
    be in direct physical contact with; make contact
    “The two buildings touch
    “Their hands touched
    synonyms: adjoin, contact, meet
    converge, meet
    be adjacent or come together
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    cover, spread over
    form a cover over
    adhere, cleave, cling, cohere, stick
    come or be in close contact with; stick or hold together and resist separation
    chafe, fray, fret, rub, scratch
    cause friction
    be attached; be in contact with
    fit closely or tightly
    abut, adjoin, border, butt, butt against, butt on, edge, march
    lie adjacent to another or share a boundary
    border, environ, ring, skirt, surround
    extend on all sides of simultaneously; encircle
    lean against, lean on, rest on
    rest on for support
    cover with liquid, usually water
    cover with blood
    mist, mist over
    become covered with mist
    cover with ice or snow or a glacier
    cover; be dispersed over
    grass, grass over
    cover with grass
    fit tightly, follow the contours of
    stick together
    clump together; as of bacteria, red blood cells, etc.
    cake, coat
    form a coat over
    drown, overwhelm, submerge
    cover completely or make imperceptible
    leech onto
    admire boundlessly and follow around
    decorate with or as if with a surrounding fringe
    gird, girdle
    put a girdle on or around
    surround with a cloister
    close in, enclose, inclose, shut in
    surround completely
    cover like a mantle
    hem in
    surround in a restrictive manner
    cloak, clothe, drape, robe
    cover as if with clothing
    neighbor, neighbour
    be located near or adjacent to
    surround with a cloister, as of a garden
    form a blanket-like cover (over)
    form a carpet-like cover (over)
    form an impenetrable cover over
    form a cover like a shroud
  5. verb
    to extend as far as
    synonyms: extend to, reach
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    reach into
    run into or up to
    type of:
    occupy a certain position or area; be somewhere
  6. verb
    be equal to in quality or ability
    “Your performance doesn't even touch that of your colleagues”
    synonyms: equal, match, rival
    equal, equalise, equalize, equate, match
    make equal, uniform, corresponding, or matching
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    type of:
    compete, contend, vie
    compete for something; engage in a contest; measure oneself against others
  7. verb
    tamper with
    “Don't touch my CDs!”
    synonyms: disturb
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    disturb the balance or stability of
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  8. verb
    “She didn't touch her food all night”
    synonyms: partake
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    partake of the Holy Eucharist sacrament
    type of:
    consume, have, ingest, take, take in
    serve oneself to, or consume regularly
  9. noun
    the faculty by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the body (especially the hands)
    “only sight and touch enable us to locate objects in the space around us”
    synonyms: cutaneous senses, sense of touch, skin senses, touch modality
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    type of:
    sensitivity to stimuli originating outside of the body
    any of the sensory systems that mediate sensations of pressure and tickle and warmth and cold and vibration and limb position and limb movement and pain
  10. noun
    the sensation produced by pressure receptors in the skin
    “she likes the touch of silk on her skin”
    synonyms: feeling, tactile sensation, tactual sensation, touch sensation
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    an uneasy sensation as of insects creeping on your skin
    cutaneous sensation, haptic sensation, skin sensation
    a sensation localized on the skin
    a cutaneous sensation often resulting from light stroking
    itch, itchiness, itching
    an irritating cutaneous sensation that produces a desire to scratch
    topognosia, topognosis
    recognition of the location of a stimulus on the skin
    a sensation of having been stung by nettles
    type of:
    the process of perceiving
  11. noun
    the event of something coming in contact with the body
    “he longed for the touch of her hand”
    “the cooling touch of the night air”
    synonyms: touching
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    brush, light touch
    momentary contact
    a light touch
    type of:
    contact, impinging, striking
    the physical coming together of two or more things
  12. noun
    the act of putting two things together with no space between them
    “at his touch the room filled with lights”
    synonyms: touching
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    contact, physical contact
    the act of touching physically
    dab, pat, tap
    a light touch or stroke
    hit, hitting, striking
    the act of contacting one thing with another
    dig, jab
    the act of touching someone suddenly with your finger or elbow
    a light glancing touch
    buss, kiss, osculation
    the act of caressing with the lips (or an instance thereof)
    catch, grab, snap, snatch
    the act of catching an object with the hands
    handling, manipulation
    the action of touching with the hands (or the skillful use of the hands) or by the use of mechanical means
    touching something with the fingers
    the act of groping; and instance of groping
    palpation, tactual exploration
    a method of examination in which the examiner feels the size or shape or firmness or location of something (of body parts when the examiner is a health professional)
    tickle, tickling, titillation
    the act of tickling
    stroke, stroking
    a light touch with the hands
    (sports) the act of touching a player in a game (which changes their status in the game)
    lap, lick
    touching with the tongue
    grazing, shaving, skimming
    the act of brushing against while passing
    rub, wipe
    the act of rubbing or wiping
    the action of bruising
    crash, smash
    the act of colliding with something
    (baseball) handling the ball while playing in the field
    fair ball
    (baseball) a ball struck with the bat so that it stays between the lines (the foul lines) that define the width of the playing field
    a glancing contact with the ball off the edge of the cricket bat
    (baseball) the act of hitting a baseball lightly without swinging the bat
    fly, fly ball
    (baseball) a hit that flies up in the air
    ground ball, groundball, grounder, hopper
    (baseball) a hit that travels along the ground
    (soccer) the act of hitting the ball with your head
    scorcher, screamer
    a very hard hit ball
    plunk, plunker
    (baseball) hitting a baseball so that it drops suddenly
    laying on
    the act of contacting something with your hand
    smack, smooch
    an enthusiastic kiss
    French kiss, deep kiss, soul kiss
    an openmouthed kiss in which your tongue is inserted into the other's mouth
    fair catch
    (American football) a catch of a punt on the fly by a defensive player who has signalled that he will not run and so should not be tackled
    (American football) the act of catching a football by a player on the opposing team
    (American football) the act of catching a pass in football
    the act of securing possession of the rebounding basketball after a missed shot
    shoestring catch
    (baseball) a running catch made near the ground
    interlock, interlocking, mesh, meshing
    the act of interlocking or meshing
    a palpatory technique for feeling a floating object in the body (especially for determining the position of a fetus by feeling the rebound of the fetus after a quick digital tap on the wall of the uterus)
    a gentle affectionate stroking (or something resembling it)
    type of:
    act, deed, human action, human activity
    something that people do or cause to happen
  13. noun
    the feel of mechanical action
    “this piano has a wonderful touch
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    type of:
    feel, tactile property
    a property perceived by touch
  14. noun
    a communicative interaction
    “he got in touch with his colleagues”
    synonyms: contact
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    type of:
    communicating, communication
    the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information
  15. verb
    affect emotionally
    “I was touched by your kind letter of sympathy”
    synonyms: stir
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    evoke an emotional response
    type of:
    affect, impress, move, strike
    have an emotional or cognitive impact upon
  16. verb
    have an effect upon
    synonyms: affect, bear on, bear upon, impact, touch on
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    strike a blow
    affect adversely
    cause repercussions; have an unwanted effect
    tell on
    produce an effect or strain on somebody
    have an effect for good or ill
    excite, stimulate
    act as a stimulant
    process, treat
    subject to a process or treatment, with the aim of readying for some purpose, improving, or remedying a condition
    hydrolise, hydrolize
    make a compound react with water and undergo hydrolysis
    color, colour, distort, tinge
    affect as in thought or feeling
    endanger, expose, peril, queer, scupper
    put in a dangerous, disadvantageous, or difficult position
    hit, strike
    affect or afflict suddenly, usually adversely
    cause to experience or suffer or make liable or vulnerable to
    bother, discommode, disoblige, incommode, inconvenience, put out, trouble
    to cause inconvenience or discomfort to
    act upon, influence, work
    have and exert influence or effect
    make a forceful move against
    cause to propagate, as by grafting or layering
    bacterise, bacterize
    subject to the action of bacteria
    iodise, iodize
    treat with iodine
    treat with nitric acid, so as to change an organic compound into a nitrate
    treat in a tank
    aerate, oxygenate, oxygenise, oxygenize
    impregnate, combine, or supply with oxygen
    mercerise, mercerize
    treat to strengthen and improve the luster
    treat with malt or malt extract
    fluoridate, fluoridise, fluoridize
    subject to fluoridation; treat with fluoride
    treat with creosote
    treat or combine with chlorine
    treat with carbon dioxide
    treat with camphor
    bromate, brominate
    treat with bromine
    treat with ammonia
    irradiate, ray
    expose to radiation
    treat with boiling water
    invigorate, quicken
    give life or energy to
    treat or prepare so as to put in a usable condition
    stimulate to action
    excite to some characteristic action or condition, such as motion, contraction, or nervous impulse, by the application of a stimulus
    nitrify, nitrogenise, nitrogenize
    treat with nitrogen or a nitrogen compound
    treat, process, heat, melt, or refine in a reverberatory furnace
    treat by incorporating fat
    sprinkle with silver iodide particles to disperse and cause rain
    treat with an agent; add (an agent) to
    sulfur, sulphur
    treat with sulphur in order to preserve
    vulcanise, vulcanize
    subject to vulcanization
    treat with a chromium compound
    bituminise, bituminize
    treat with bitumen
    Agenise, Agenize
    age or bleach flour with Agene (nitrogen trichloride)
    cause to perform
    treat (a chemical compound) with carboxyl or carboxylic acid
    convert into a simple soluble fermentable sugar by hydrolyzing a sugar derivative or complex carbohydrate
    process (ores or other raw materials), as by reduction
    prejudice, prepossess
    influence (somebody's) opinion in advance
    expose or make liable to danger, suspicion, or disrepute
    convert food into absorbable substances
    expose to the effects of vitriol or injure with vitriol
    cause (someone) to undergo something
    cause to experience shipwreck
    subject to refraction
    expose or make accessible to some action or influence
    expose to light, of photographic film
    fume, fumigate
    treat with fumes, expose to fumes, especially with the aim of disinfecting or eradicating pests
    control the humidity and temperature of
    form, imprint
    establish or impress firmly in the mind
    have force or influence; bring about an effect or change
    manipulate, pull strings, pull wires
    influence or control shrewdly or deviously
    color, colour
    modify or bias
    swing, swing over
    influence decisively
    blackjack, blackmail, pressure
    exert pressure on someone through threats
    carry, persuade, sway
    win approval or support for
    get at
    influence by corruption
    influence an event or its outcome by illegal means
    distress, straiten
    bring into difficulties or distress, especially financial hardship
    be in control
    make oneself subject to; bring upon oneself; become liable to
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  17. verb
    color lightly
    synonyms: tinct, tinge, tint
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    apply henna to one's hair
    stain or tint with a color
    give a certain color to
    type of:
    color, color in, colorise, colorize, colour, colour in, colourise, colourize
    add color to
  18. noun
    a slight but appreciable amount
    “this dish could use a touch of garlic”
    synonyms: hint, jot, mite, pinch, soupcon, speck, tinge, trifle
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    a pinch of smokeless tobacco inhaled at a single time
    type of:
    small indefinite amount, small indefinite quantity
    an indefinite quantity that is below average size or magnitude
  19. noun
    a suggestion of some quality
    “there was a touch of sarcasm in his tone”
    synonyms: ghost, trace
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    a suggestion of some quality
    type of:
    proffer, proposition, suggestion
    a proposal offered for acceptance or rejection
  20. noun
    a slight attack of illness
    “he has a touch of rheumatism”
    synonyms: spot
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    type of:
    a sudden occurrence of an uncontrollable condition
  21. noun
    a distinguishing style
    “this room needs a woman's touch
    synonyms: signature
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    common touch
    the property of appealing to people in general (usually by appearing to have qualities in common with them)
    type of:
    fashion, manner, modality, mode, style, way
    how something is done or how it happens
  22. noun
    deftness in handling matters
    “he has a master's touch
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    capstone, copestone, finishing touch
    a final touch; a crowning achievement; a culmination
    type of:
    adeptness, adroitness, deftness, facility, quickness
    skillful performance or ability without difficulty
  23. verb
    be relevant to
    synonyms: bear on, come to, concern, have-to doe with, pertain, refer, relate, touch on
    advert, allude
    make a more or less disguised reference to
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    center, center on, concentrate on, focus on, revolve about, revolve around
    center upon
    apply, go for, hold
    be pertinent or relevant or applicable
    affect, involve, regard
    connect closely and often incriminatingly
    interest, matter to
    be of importance or consequence to
    bring into intimate and incriminating connection
    fascinate, intrigue
    cause to be interested or curious
  24. verb
    deal with; usually used with a form of negation
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    type of:
    care, deal, handle, manage
    be in charge of, act on, or dispose of
  25. verb
    make a more or less disguised reference to
    synonyms: advert, allude
    bear on, come to, concern, have-to doe with, pertain, refer, relate, touch on
    be relevant to
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    type of:
    hint, suggest
    drop a hint; intimate by a hint
  26. verb
    “He could not touch the meaning of the poem”
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    type of:
    know and comprehend the nature or meaning of
  27. noun
    the act of soliciting money (as a gift or loan)
    see moresee less
    type of:
    an entreaty addressed to someone of superior status
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