Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French tucher, tuchier, from Vulgar Latin *toccare to knock, strike a bell, touch, probably of imitative origin
Date: 14th century
1. to bring a bodily part into contact with especially so as to perceive through the tactile sense ; handle or feel gently usually with the intent to understand or appreciate <loved to touch the soft silk> 2. to strike or push lightly especially with the hand or foot or an implement 3. to lay hands upon (one afflicted with scrofula) with intent to heal 4. archaic a. to play on (a stringed instrument) b. to perform (a melody) by playing or singing 5. a. to take into the hands or mouth <never touches alcohol> b. to put hands upon in any way or degree <don't touch anything before the police come>; especially to commit violence upon <swears he never touched the child> 6. to deal with ; become involved with <a sticky situation and I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole> 7. to induce to give or lend <touched him for ten dollars> 8. to cause to be briefly in contact or conjunction with something <touched her spurs to the horse> <touched his hand to his hat> 9. a. (1) to meet without overlapping or penetrating ; adjoin (2) to get to ; reach <the speedometer needle touched 80> b. to be tangent to c. to rival in quality or value <nothing can touch that cloth for durability> 10. to speak or tell of especially in passing <barely touched the incident in the speech> 11. a. to relate to ; concern b. to have an influence on ; affect 12. a. to leave a mark or impression on <few reagents will touch gold>; also tinge b. to harm slightly by or as if by contact ; taint, blemish <fruit touched by frost> c. to give a delicate tint, line, or expression to <a smile touched her lips> d. to get a hit off or score a run against <touched him for three runs> 13. to draw or delineate with light strokes 14. a. to hurt the feelings of ; wound b. to move to sympathetic feeling intransitive verb 1. a. to feel something with a body part (as the hand or foot) b. to lay hand or finger on a person to cure disease (as scrofula) 2. to be in contact 3. to come close ; verge <your actions touch on treason> 4. to have a bearing ; relate — used with on or upon 5. a. to make a brief or incidental stop on shore during a trip by water <touched at several ports> b. to treat a topic in a brief or casual manner — used with on or upon <touched upon many points> Synonyms: see affect • touchable adjective • toucher noun II. noun Date: 14th century 1. a. a light stroke, tap, or push b. a hit against an opponent in fencing 2. the act or fact of touching; also the act or an instance of handling or controlling a ball (as in basketball or soccer) 3. the special sense by which pressure or traction exerted on the skin or mucous membrane is perceived 4. mental or moral sensitiveness, responsiveness, or tact <has a wonderful touch with children> 5. a specified sensation that arises in response to stimulation of the tactile receptors ; feel <the velvety touch of velour> 6. a. archaic the act of rubbing gold or silver on a touchstone to test its quality b. test, trial — used chiefly in the phrase put to the touch 7. a. a visible effect ; mark <a touch of the tropical sun> b. weakness, defect 8. something slight of its kind: as a. a light attack <a touch of fever> b. a small quantity or indication ; hint <a touch of spring in the air> c. a transient emotion <a momentary touch of compunction> d. a near approach ; close call <beaten in the championships by a mere touch> 9. a. archaic the playing of an instrument (as a lute or piano) with the fingers; also musical notes or strains so produced b. particular action of a keyboard with reference to the resistance of its keys to pressure <piano with a stiff touch> 10. control of the hands: as a. a manner or method of touching or striking especially the keys of a keyboard instrument b. ability to precisely control the path and speed of a shot or pass <a great shooting touch> 11. a set of changes in change ringing that is less than a peal 12. a. an effective and subtle detail <applies the finishing touches to the story> b. distinctive and often effective manner or method <the touch of a master> c. a characteristic or distinguishing trait or quality 13. slang an act of soliciting or getting a gift or loan 14. the state or fact of being in contact or communication or of having awareness <lost touch with her cousin> <let's keep in touch> <out of touch with modern times> 15. the area outside of the touchlines in soccer or outside of and including the touchlines in rugby <the ball went into touch>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.