adjective, touch·i·er, touch·i·est.

apt to take offense on slight provocation; irritable: He is very touchy when he's sick.
requiring caution, tactfulness, or expert handling; precarious; risky: a touchy subject; a touchy situation.
sensitive to touch.
easily ignited, as tinder.

Origin of touchy

1595–1605; variant of techy2 (a variant of tetchy), by association with touch
Related formstouch·i·ly, adverbtouch·i·ness, noun

Synonyms for touchy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for touchy

Contemporary Examples of touchy

Historical Examples of touchy

  • These Cape Codders are self-respecting and touchy, you know.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Besides, he's a touchy person, and my husband is most tenacious regarding him.

    Luttrell Of Arran

    Charles James Lever

  • I have taken pains with the dialogue, and made it as sharp and touchy as I could.

  • Tim often said he would be a soldier when he came to be a man, and was touchy on the point.


    Talbot Baines Reed

  • For goodness' sake, don't take to gettin' touchy like some people are!


    Anna Balmer Myers

British Dictionary definitions for touchy


adjective touchier or touchiest

easily upset or irritated; oversensitive
extremely risky
easily ignited
Derived Formstouchily, adverbtouchiness, noun
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 touchy

"too sensitive," c.1600, perhaps an alteration of tetchy (q.v.) influenced by touch (v.). Related: Touchiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper