Something that is touching affects you emotionally—it makes you feel sad or tender. A touching video about baby hedgehogs might even make your stoic older sister cry.

The adjective touching comes from a particular meaning of the verb touch, "to affect or move mentally or emotionally," from the idea that something has "touched" your mind or heart. Your book report might describe the story you read as touching if it left you wiping away a tear.

Primary Meanings of touching

arousing affect
the act of putting two things together with no space between them
Full Definitions of touching

adj arousing affect

“his gratitude was simple and touching
affecting, poignant
arousing or capable of arousing deep emotion

n the act of putting two things together with no space between them

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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

n the event of something coming in contact with the body

brush, light touch
momentary contact
a light touch
Type of:
contact, impinging, striking
the physical coming together of two or more things

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