touch - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participletouching
past tensetouched
past participletouched
  1. 1
    [transitive] to put your hand or part of your body on someone or something

    Beth reached out and touched his cheek.

    He was careful not to touch the blood.

    touch something to something (=move something so that it touches something else):

    ‘Be quiet!’ she said, touching her finger to her lips.

    He touched the napkin briefly to his chin.

    1. a.
      to press something in a light way with your finger or foot to make something work

      Kate touched a button and the machine whirred into action.

    2. b.
      to put your hand on someone’s body in a sexual way

      It was the first time he had touched her.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] if two things touch, or if something touches something else, there is no space between them

    The chair was so high that his feet couldn’t touch the ground.

    They stood next to each other, barely touching.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to affect your emotions, especially so that you feel sad or sympathetic

    He was touched by their suffering and offered to help.

    touch someone’s heart:

    The plight of the orphans has touched the hearts of thousands of people.

    1. a.
      to feel grateful because someone has been very kind to you

      I was really touched by the flowers he sent.

      Eric was touched by her concern.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to change or influence someone or something in a positive way

    She touched many people’s lives through her charity work.

    1. a.
      [always in negatives] to change something in a way that is noticeable
    2. b.
      if an expression, especially a smile, touches your lips or eyes, you have it for a short time

      A trace of a smile touched her lips.

  5. 5
    [transitive] [always in negatives] to eat or drink a particular thing

    She was so upset that she had barely touched her food.

    I never touch meat or dairy products.

  6. 6
    [transitive] [usually in negatives] to use something

    Don’t touch anything of mine while I’m away.

    I haven’t touched any of the money she left me.

  7. 7
    [transitive] [always in negatives] to work on something

    I haven’t touched the garden for weeks.

  8. 8
    [transitive] to deal with a particular subject, situation etc

    I wouldn’t touch such a difficult piece of work.

    1. a.
      to deal with or accept someone

      Most employers won’t touch you if you’ve got a criminal record.

  9. 10
    [transitive] to hit or kick a ball in a game

    He hardly touched the ball during the game.

  10. 11
    [transitive] [always in negatives] to be as good as someone or something else

    He is a great sportsman, but he can’t touch his brother.