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noli me tangere

[noh-lahy mee tan-juh-ree, noh-lee; Latin noh-lee me tahng-ge-re]
noun
  1. a person or thing that must not be touched or interfered with.
  2. a picture representing Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection.
  3. Also no·li-me-tan·ge·re. the touch-me-not.
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Origin of noli me tangere

< Latin: do not touch me (Jesus' words to Mary Magdalene)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Word Origin and History for noli me tangere

late 14c., "type of facial ulcer, lupus," Latin, literally "touch me not," from noli, imperative of nolle "to be unwilling" + me (see me) + tangere "to touch" (see tangent). Used over the years of various persons or things that must not be touched, especially "picture of Jesus as he appeared to Mary Magdalene" (1670s, see John 20:17) and "plant of the genus Impatiens" (1560s, so called because the ripe seed pods burst when touched).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper