Meaning of “touch” in the English Dictionary

"touch" in English

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uk /tʌtʃ/ us /tʌtʃ/

touch verb (PUT HAND ON)

B1 [ I or T ] to put your hand or another part of your body lightly onto and off something or someone:

That paint is wet - don't touch (it).
He touched the girl on the arm to get her attention.
The boy touched the worm with (= using, in his hand) a twig.
figurative The setting sun touched the trees with red (= made them appear red for a short time).

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touch verb (BE CLOSE TOGETHER)

B2 [ I or T ] (of two or more things) to be so close together that there is no space between; to be in contact:

He fell asleep as soon as his head touched the pillow.
She pushed the two bookcases together until they touched/were touching.

touch verb (HARM/DAMAGE)

C2 to harm someone, or use or damage something:

Please don't touch any of my stuff while I'm away.

touch verb (BE AS GOOD)

[ T ] (usually used in negative sentences) to have or reach the same standard (= level of quality) as someone or something:

Her novels can't touch (= are not as good as) those of her sister.
There's no one to touch him as an illustrator of children's books.


uk /tʌtʃ/ us /tʌtʃ/

touch noun (SMALL AMOUNT)

C2 [ S ] a small amount:

"Would you like milk?" "Just a touch."
There was a touch of irony/humour in her voice.

[ S ] informal To show that an illness is not too serious, you can say you have had a touch of it:

I had a touch of flu/hay fever.

C2 [ C ] a small addition or detail that makes something better:

The speech had several comic touches.
Using a sailing ship as the company logo was a touch of genius (= a good/clever idea or action).
The flowers on the table provided the finishing touch.
a touch


The weather has turned a touch too cold for my liking.

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touch noun (FEELING)

B2 [ U ] the ability to know what something is like by feeling it with the fingers:

the sense of touch
I found the right coin in the dark by touch.
to the touch B2 also to your touch

used after an adjective to express how something feels when you put your hand on it:

The material was soft to the touch.

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touch noun (MOVEMENT ONTO/OFF)

B2 [ C usually singular ] a quick, light movement of one thing, especially a hand, onto and off another thing:

I felt a cold touch on my arm.
At a/the touch of a button, the door opened.

touch noun (COMMUNICATION)

be, get, keep, etc. in touch

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B1 to communicate or continue to communicate with someone by using a phone or writing to them:

Are you still in touch with any of your old school friends?
Jen and I never kept in touch after college.
We're in close touch with our office in Spain.
lose touch

B2 to stop communicating with someone, usually because they do not live near you now:

We lost touch over the years.

touch noun (BALL CONTROL)

[ C or U ] in sports such as football, a player's ability to control the ball and make it do what they want, or an occasion when a player controls the ball with their foot:

Nicolas Anelka squandered the chance to score when his touch let him down in front of goal.
Hazard took several touches before crossing.

touch noun (KNOWLEDGE)

be in/out of touch

C2 If you are in touch/out of touch with a subject, activity, or situation, your knowledge about it is recent/not recent:

He's not really in touch with what young people are interested in.
I didn't see any news all the time I was on holiday, so I'm completely out of touch.

(Definition of “touch” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"touch" in American English

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us /tʌtʃ/

touch verb (USE FINGERS)

[ I/T ] to put the fingers or hand lightly on or against something:

[ I ] That paint is wet, so don’t touch.

[ I/T ] infml If you cannot touch something, you are not allowed to have or use it:

[ T ] She can’t touch the money from her father until she’s 21.

[ I/T ] infml If you say you do not touch something, you mean that you do not drink or eat it:

[ T ] I never touch candy.

touch verb (BE CLOSE)

[ I/T ] to be so close together that there is no space between:

[ T ] Don’t let the back of the chair touch the wall.
[ I ] Push the bookcases together until they touch.

[ I/T ] If one thing does not touch something similar, it is not as good as the other thing:

[ T ] Her cooking can’t touch her sister’s.

touch verb (CAUSE FEELINGS)

[ T ] to cause someone to feel sympathetic or grateful:

Your kindness has touched my family.


us /tʌtʃ/

touch noun (SKILL)

[ U ] a skill or special quality:

He seems to be losing his touch at poker.
The flowers were a nice touch.

touch noun (SMALL AMOUNT)

[ C ] a small amount:

There was a touch of regret in her voice.
I had a touch of flu yesterday.

touch noun (BEING CLOSE)

[ U ] the state of being close together or in contact with someone or something


[ C/U ] the ability to know what something is like by putting your hand or fingers on it:

[ U ] This cloth is soft to the touch.

[ C/U ] A touch is an act of putting your hand or fingers briefly on something to operate it:

[ C ] At a touch of the button, the door opened.

(Definition of “touch” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"touch" in Business English

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touchverb [ I or T ]

uk /tʌtʃ/ us

to put your fingers or hand lightly on the surface of something:

Don't touch the machine when it's in use.
nobody/nothing can touch sb/sth

used to say that someone or something is the best of a particular kind:

As a hard worker, no one can touch him.
This computer is so powerful, no other laptop can touch it.
touch base

to talk with someone for a short time:

He wants to touch base on some of the significant items that we've been dealing with.


uk /tʌtʃ/ us

[ C ] a small addition or detail which makes something better:

Adding music to your presentation was a nice touch.
I am just putting the finishing touches to my monthly report.
in touch

communicating or continuing to communicate with someone by phone, email, etc.:

get/keep/stay in touch (with sb) We need to get in touch with our suppliers right away.
Let's keep in touch over the next few days while the installation is in progress.

aware of what is happening:

in touch with sth It's very important to stay in touch with the practices of other employers in the city.

(Definition of “touch” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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