Meaning of “touch” in the English Dictionary

"touch" in British 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).

More examples

  • Don't touch the machine when it's in use.
  • The water's not deep here - look, I can touch the bottom.
  • I could feel myself tense up as he touched my neck.
  • A new baby will automatically curl its fingers round any object it touches.
  • "You're burning up!" she said, touching his forehead.

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.


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.

More examples

  • There was so much publicity and hype beforehand, that the performance itself was a touch anticlimactic.
  • There was a touch of frost on the hills.
  • Add just a touch of cream to the mixture.
  • His work has a touch of pathos.
  • The gold decoration will add a touch of class.

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.

More examples

  • Although snakes look slimy their skin is actually dry to the touch.
  • I felt a gentle touch on my arm.
  • I can control the doors at the touch of a switch.
  • Her skin was icy to the touch.

touch noun (COMMUNICATION)

be, get, keep, etc. in touch

More examples

  • Is she still in touch with her ex?
  • Many therapists think it's important for adults to get in touch with their inner child.
  • The police put me in touch with Victim Support.
  • The president responded angrily to the charge that she had lost touch with her country's people.

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 (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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