Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “touch”

See all translations


verb uk   /tʌtʃ/ us  

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 child 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

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 things while I'm away .

touch verb (EAT/DRINK)

[T] informal (usually used in negative sentences) to eat or drink something: They hadn't touched any of the food we had left for them. Honestly, I haven't touched a drop (= drunk any alcohol) all night.

touch verb (INFLUENCE)

[T] to influence someone or something emotionally, or cause feelings of sympathy in someone: Tragedy touched their lives when their son was 16. The TV report about the children's work for charity touched thousands of people's hearts.

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.


noun uk   /tʌtʃ/ us  

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've 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 badge was a touch of genius (= a good/clever idea or action). The flowers on the table provided the finishing touch.a touch slightly: The weather has turned a touch too cold for my liking.
More examples

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 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

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
More examples
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? No, Jane 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 (ABILITY)

[S or U] an ability to do things in the stated, especially positive, way: He has a deft touch with tricky painting jobs. She gave the job her own special/magic/professional/personal touch. I admire her lightness/sureness of touch as a cook. He used to be a good writer but I think he's losing his touch.

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 (SPORT)

[U] the area outside either of the long edges of the space on which football and similar games are played: Playing for safety, he kicked the ball into touch.
See also

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 look at a newspaper all the time I was on holiday, so I'm completely out of touch.
(Definition of touch from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of touch?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “touch” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


a very young child, especially one that has not yet begun to walk or talk

Word of the Day

The way we move (Verbs for walking and running)

by Kate Woodford,
March 25, 2015
​​​ This week we’re looking at interesting ways to describe the way that people move. Most of the verbs that we’ll be considering describe how fast or slow people move. Others describe the attitude or state of mind of the person walking or running. Some describe both. Starting with verbs for walking slowly,

Read More 

stackin’ p

March 30, 2015
idiom slang earning a lot of money ‘That’s a very generous present.”Yeah, well, she’s stackin’ p, innit?’

Read More