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be touching cloth
semi-vulgar slang To have a very urgent or desperate need to defecate. (Refers jokingly to one's feces protruding into one's underpants.) Boy, it's a good thing we got home when we did—I was touching cloth on the way here!
be touching cotton
semi-vulgar slang To have a very urgent or desperate need to defecate. (Refers jokingly to one's feces protruding into one's underpants.) Boy, it's a good thing we got home when we did—I was touching cotton on the way here!
euphemistic slang To masturbate. My ultra-religious aunt scared us silly when we went through puberty with all sorts of myths about what would happen if we touched ourselves.
See also: touch
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.
1. verb To stop bothering someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "let" and "alone." Why do you keep picking at that scab on your knee? Let it alone already! For the last time, let your brother alone—he needs to study!
2. expression Not to mention. The phrase is used to emphasize that if other more significant or pressing things are not possible or cannot be accommodated, a lesser thing certainly is not or cannot either. I hardly had time to brush my teeth this morning, let alone do my hair! We can't afford a vacation, let alone a trip to Disney World.
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.
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 (one) on the raw
To do or say something (such as mentioning a sensitive topic) that causes one to feel agitated or self-conscious; to touch a nerve. Primarily heard in UK. I accidentally touched Vanessa on the raw by mentioning her new haircut—apparently, she's really unhappy with it.
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'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 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 (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.
let alone someone or something
not to mention or think of someone or something; not even to take someone or something into account. (Fixed order.) Do I have a dollar? I don't even have a dime, let alone a dollar. I didn't invite John, let alone the rest of his family.
let someone or something aloneand leave someone or something alone; leave someone or something be
to avoid touching, bothering, or communicating with someone or something. Leave me alone. I don't want your help. Let it alone! Don't touch it! It may be hot!
[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.
1. See leave someone alone.
2. Not to mention, as in We have no room for another house guest, let alone an entire family. [c. 1800]
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]
let aˈloneused after a statement to emphasize that because the first thing is not true or possible, the next thing cannot be true or possible either: I wouldn’t speak to him, let alone trust him or lend him money. ♢ She didn’t even apologize, let alone offer to pay for the damage.
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.
Not to mention; much less: "Their ancestors had been dirt poor and never saw royalty, let alone hung around with them" (Garrison Keillor).