touch

Definitions

General English

  • noun one of the five senses, the sense of feeling with the fingers
  • noun a very small amount
  • verb to feel something with your fingers
  • verb to be so close to something that you press against it

Banking

  • noun the narrowest spread between the buy and sell prices of a share

Media Studies

  • noun an element of non-verbal communication, transmitting messages of comfort, solidarity, sexual interest etc.

Medical

  • noun one of the five senses, where sensations are felt by part of the skin, especially by the fingers and lips

Military

Slang

  • adjective good. The word, sometimes used in the 1990s as an exclamation of solidarity, affection, etc. (originally accompanying the literal touching or slapping of hands), has, since 2000, also been used adjectivally by UK teenagers and gang members.

Sports

  • noun in some team sports, the area beyond the touchlines in which the ball is out of play

Origin & History of “touch”

The etymological notion underlying touch seems to be the ‘striking of a bell’. It comes via Old French tochier from vulgar Latin *toccāre ‘hit, knock’, which appears originally to have denoted ‘make the sound toc by striking something, such as a bell’ (as in English tick-tock). The connection with bells is preserved in tocsin ‘signal given with a bell’ (16th c.), which comes via French tocsin from Provençal to-casenh, a compound formed from tocar ‘strike’ and senh ‘bell’ (a relative of English sign). Another member of the family is toccata (18th c.), a borrowing from Italian, which etymologically denotes the ‘touching’ of the keys of an instrument with the fingers.
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