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a touch of (something)
1. A small amount of something. She had a touch of grey in her hair, but otherwise you would never guess that she was nearly 60. There was a touch of hesitation in his voice. I'll just have a touch of wine with my meal, thanks.
2. A mild case of something (i.e., some illness or ailment). A: "Are you all right? You sound quite ill." B: "I'm fine, just a touch of bronchitis." It's just such a shame that she came down with a touch of the flu during her vacation.
The last detail added or change made to something to make it complete. Let's not spend too much longer on this. Let's just put the finishing touch on it and get it ready for production. He's been putting the finishing touches on that painting for so long now, I'm starting to think he'll never be satisfied with it.
touch (on) a sore point
To evoke a strong and negative emotional reaction in someone; to do or say something that upsets someone in a deeply personal way. Your column must have touched a sore point with readers, because we are getting slammed with negative feedback. I could tell he was touching on a sore point, because Jane went deathly silent when he brought up her former employer.
touch (on) a sore spot
To evoke a strong and negative emotional reaction in someone; to do or say something that upsets someone in a deeply personal way. Your column must have touched a sore spot with readers, because we are getting slammed with negative feedback. I could tell he was touching on a sore spot, because Jane went deathly silent when he brought up her former employer.
touch (on) all (the) bases
To include, make reference to, or take action on every desired or required element or aspect (of something). The essay touches all bases, but it doesn't do much to elaborate on them or introduce any new insights. For fans of the genre, the film touches on all the bases.
touch (one) for (something)
To beg or wheedle something (usually money or food) as a handout from one. I could see old Tommy shuffling towards me, and I knew he was going to try to touch me for a few dollars so he could buy a drink. You can't just touch your parents for cash every time you're hard up.
touch (one's) forelock
To show excessive deference toward someone in a superior position. An allusion to the former act of pulling one's frontmost hair in lieu of having a hat to tip. I hate being in meetings with the CEO because then I have to witness all of the regional managers touching their forelocks like fawning sycophants.
touch (rock) bottom
To reach the lowest or worst point of a decline. Primarily heard in UK. I knew I had touched rock bottom when I missed my son's birthday party because I was so hungover. That's when I knew I needed to get help. Prices have been falling for weeks during the crash, but the economy has finally touched bottom.
touch a (raw) nerve
To evoke a strong emotional reaction, such as anger, sadness, or disgust, upon being encountered, heard, read, etc. Your column must have touched a nerve, because we are getting slammed with feedback from readers—and they're not happy. I could tell he was touching a raw nerve when he brought up Jane's former employer and Jane went silent for a moment.
touch a chord (with someone)
To elicit or trigger a strong emotional response to something; to be very poignant. Thank you for speaking, your words really touched a chord with me. The film still touches a chord with younger audiences, even after all these years. In my opinion, nothing touches a chord quite the same way music does.
touch at (some place)
Of a sea craft, to drop anchor at some location. We decided to sail from Florida to New York, touching at Charleston, Beaufort, and Norfolk along the way. By the time we finally touched at port, our provisions were running dangerously low.
touch base (with someone)
To contact someone to update them or receive an update from them. I was just calling to touch base since it's been a few weeks since we last spoke. Will you please touch base with the marketing team and find out how they're progressing?
To land; to make contact with the ground. We couldn't touch down due to ice on the runway. The storm is expected to touch down sometime around 2 AM.
1. To start a fire or detonate an explosive device. He touched off the firework just as the school assembly was about to begin. Don't smoke in here! You might touch off the dry hay.
2. By extension, to trigger or initiate a reaction. A noun or pronoun can be used between "touch" and "off." Our teacher is so high-strung that the slightest provocation touches him off. The announcement touched off a riot in downtown Los Angeles.
touch on (something)
To discuss or deal with some topic informally or in passing. We'll touch on that matter later in the meeting, so let's stay focused on the issue at hand. She touched on the problem, but she didn't get a chance to explain exactly what had happened. The movie touches on themes of loneliness and grief, but doesn't make them the central focus of the characters.
touch to (something)
1. To bring something into physical contact with something else. A noun or pronoun is used between "touch" and "to." If you touch each metal wire to the ends of the battery, you create an electrical current. The psychic touched the sealed envelope to his forehead and claimed to know what the letter inside said.
2. To touch someone with one's hands in order to do or communicate something. A noun or pronoun is used between "touch" and "to." I touched his shoulder to let him know I sympathized with him. The doctor touched the injured man to make sure he was still breathing.
3. To affect someone at some deep, emotional level. Often followed by "the quick," "the/someone's core," "the/someone's soul," etc. A noun or pronoun is used between "touch" and "to." I can't even look at her right now. That hurtful remark she made touched me right to the quick. The haunting melody touched me right to my soul. It's a harrowing story that is sure to touch audiences to their cores.
1. verb To fix minor flaws in or make minor changes to something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "touch" and "up." I'd just like to touch up my makeup before we leave. All you need to do is touch the wall up with a bit of spackle and paint, and it will be as good as new!
2. noun A minor change or fix. As a noun, the phrase is usually hyphenated. The cover is almost ready, it just needs a few touch-ups before we send it to the printer.
touch with (something)
1. To bring something into light contact with someone or something. A noun or pronoun is used between "touch" and "with." He touched the electric fence with his bare hand and got an awful shock from it. A: "Here, let me wipe that muck off your face." B: "Blech! Please don't touch me with that disgusting handkerchief!"
2. To affect someone at a deep, emotional level with some action, performance, words, etc. A noun or pronoun is used between "touch" and "with." You really touched me with your kind words at the ceremony today. She was touched with the way the community rallied around her during the crisis.
Used to acknowledge that the other person's retort, counterpoint, or repartee was especially appropriate or well made. From French, literally, "touched," used in fencing to acknowledge that a scoring hit has been made. A: "You don't have a driver's license? How lame." B: "Hey, at least I don't still live in my parents' basement." A: "Touché." A: "Look, we wouldn't be so behind schedule if you hadn't changed the design specs at the very last minute!" B: "OK, touché. I guess I was partly responsible."
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a final adjustment of something; some effort or action that completes something. Norm is in his workshop putting the finishing touches on his latest project.
[for an airplane] to come in contact with the ground; to land. Flight twelve is due to touch down at midnight. When will this plane touch down?
touch someone or something off
Fig. to ignite or excite someone or something; to excite anger or chaos. She is very excitable. The slightest thing will touch her off. The appearance of the fox touched off a furor in the henhouse.
touch something up
to fix up the minor flaws in something; to repair a paint job on something. It's only a little scratch in the finish. We can touch it up easily. Tom touched up the scrape with a little paint.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
A small change or addition that serves to complete something. For example, The room still needed a few finishing touches, such as a flower arrangement. This expression is sometimes put as a finishing stroke. [c. 1700]
Land on the ground, as in The spacecraft touched down on schedule. This idiom was first recorded in 1935.
1. Cause to explode or fire; also, initiate, trigger. For example, The boys touched off a whole line of firecrackers, or These disclosures will touch off a public uproar. This idiom comes from early firearms, which were set off by putting a light to the touch-hole. Its figurative use dates from the late 1800s.
2. Depict very precisely, as in He touched off Teddy Roosevelt as well as it's ever been done. [Mid-1700s]
Make minor changes or improvements, as in This wall needs some touching up but not complete repainting. [Early 1700s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To make contact with the ground; land: The tornado touched down in a remote area.
1. To cause something to explode or rapidly ignite: The spark touched off the puddle of fuel. A cigarette from a passing motorist touched the dry grass off and started a forest fire.
2. To trigger something; initiate something: Investigators wondered what could have touched the fire off. The news of the scandal touched off a public uproar.
To improve something by making minor corrections, changes, or additions: I touched up the nicks in the paint to prevent the metal from rusting. The author touched an old essay up and submitted it for publication.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.