[ tuhch-uhp ]
/ ˈtʌtʃˌʌp /


an act or instance of touching up: Her makeup needed a touch-up.

Nearby words

  1. touch-ready,
  2. touch-sensitive,
  3. touch-tackle,
  4. touch-tone,
  5. touch-type,
  6. touchback,
  7. touchdown,
  8. touche,
  9. touched,
  10. touched by, be

Origin of touch-up

First recorded in 1880–85; noun use of verb phrase touch up

Origin of touch

1250–1300; (v.) Middle English to(u)chen < Old French tochier < Vulgar Latin *toccāre to knock, strike, touch, of expressive orig.; (noun) partly continuing Middle English touche state or act of touching < Old French, derivative of tochier, partly derivative of the v.

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for touch up

touch up

verb (tr, adverb)

to put extra or finishing touches to
to enhance, renovate, or falsify by putting extra touches toto touch up a photograph
to stimulate or rouse as by a tap or light blow
British slang to touch or caress (someone), esp to arouse sexual feelings

noun touch-up

a renovation or retouching, as of a painting


/ (tʌtʃ) /



Derived Formstouchable, adjectivetouchableness, nountoucher, nountouchless, adjective

Word Origin for touch

C13: from Old French tochier, from Vulgar Latin toccāre (unattested) to strike, ring (a bell), probably imitative of a tapping sound

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for touch up
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for touch up


[ tŭch ]


The physiological sense by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the body.
Digital examination.
Related formstouch•a•ble adj.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with touch up

touch up

Make minor changes or improvements, as in This wall needs some touching up but not complete repainting. [Early 1700s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with touch

  • touch and go
  • touch base with
  • touch bottom
  • touch down
  • touched by, be
  • touched in the head
  • touch off
  • touch on
  • touch up

also see:

  • common touch
  • finishing touch
  • hit (touch) bottom
  • in touch
  • lose one's touch
  • lose touch
  • not touch with a ten-foot pole
  • out of touch
  • put the arm (touch) on
  • soft touch
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.