|Origin:||tuchier, from Vulgar Latin toccare 'to knock, hit a bell, touch'; from the sound|
touch1 S2 W2
to put your hand, finger etc on someone or something:
She reached out to touch his arm.
If your house has been burgled, you shouldn't touch anything until the police arrive.
'Don't touch me!' she yelled.
touch somebody on the arm/leg etc
A hand touched her on the shoulder.
if two things touch, or one thing touches another thing, they reach each other so that there is no space between them:
no space between[intransitive and transitive]
As our glasses touched, he said 'Cheers!'
Her dress was so long that it was touching the ground.
to move something so that it reaches something else with no space between the two things:
She touched the handkerchief to her nose.
He touched his lips to her hair.
to affect someone's emotions, especially by making them feel sympathy or sadness: ➔ touched, touching1
affect somebody's feelings[transitive]
Her plight has touched the hearts of people around the world.
She could sense his concern and it touched her.
to have an effect on someone or something, especially by changing or influencing them:
have an effect[transitive]
He has touched the lives of many people.
Unemployment remains an evil that touches the whole community.
He was often touched by doubt (=doubt affected him).
to use or handle something:
use[transitive usually in negatives]
The law doesn't allow him to touch any of the money.
It's a long time since I've touched a piano.
to not eat or drink something:
What's wrong? You've hardly touched your food.
My grandfather was an alcoholic but I never touch the stuff (=never drink alcohol).
to not deal with something that you should deal with:
I brought home loads of work, but I haven't touched any of it yet.
to not hurt someone or not damage something:
The older boys swore they hadn't touched the child.
Parma had not been touched.
to become involved with or deal with a particular problem, situation, or person:
deal with somebody/something[transitive]
He was the only lawyer who would touch the case.
Everything he touches turns to disaster.
No school would touch a teacher who had been convicted of assault.
to reach a particular amount or level:
reach an amount[transitive] especially British English
At the time, the unemployment rate was touching 10 percent and rising.
to gently hit or kick a ball - used especially in reports of sports games:
hit/kick[transitive] British English
Evans was just able to touch the ball away from Wilkinson.
12 British English not touch something/somebody with a ten-foot pole American English
used to say that you think someone or something is bad and people should not be involved with them:
I wouldn't touch him with a bargepole.
Financial analysts have warned investors not to touch these offers with a ten-foot pole.
to have a small amount of a particular quality:
His voice was touched with the faintest of Italian accents.
Her nails had been manicured and lightly touched with colour.
if an expression such as a smile touches your face, your face has that expression for a short time:
A smile touched her lips.
to be about or to deal with a particular subject, situation, or problem:
relate to something[transitive]
Though the question touched a new vein, Nelson answered promptly.
The discourse touches many of the issues which are currently popular.
if light touches something, it shines on it:
The sun was just touching the tops of the mountains.
used for saying that nothing or no one is as good as a particular person or thing:
He describes the events with a passion that no other writer can touch.
to talk to someone in order to find out how they are or what is happening:
I just wanted to touch base and make sure you hadn't changed your mind about seeing me.
to reach the ground at the bottom of a sea, river etc:
He swam down but could not touch bottom.
to reach the lowest level or worst condition:
The housing market has touched bottom.
touch downphrasal verb
when an aircraft touches down, it lands on the ground:
The plane finally touched down at Heathrow airport around midday.
in the sport of rugby, to score by putting the ball on the ground behind the other team's goal line
touch somebody for somethingphrasal verb
He tried to touch me for the taxi fare home.
touch something ↔ offphrasal verb
It was these national rivalries that eventually touched off the First World War.
touch on/upon somethingphrasal verb
The report touches on the relationship between poverty and poor health.
These issues were touched on in Chapter 2.
touch somebody/something ↔ upphrasal verb
to improve something by changing it slightly or adding a little more to it:
She quickly touched up her lipstick.
The photograph had obviously been touched up.
The speech he finally gave had been touched up by his staff.
2 British English informal
to touch someone in a sexual way when they do not want you to:
He was accused of touching up one of his students.