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[feel] /fil/
verb (used with object), felt, feeling.
to perceive or examine by touch.
to have a sensation of (something), other than by sight, hearing, taste, or smell:
to feel a toothache.
to find or pursue (one's way) by touching, groping, or cautious moves.
to be or become conscious of.
to be emotionally affected by:
to feel one's disgrace keenly.
to experience the effects of:
The whole region felt the storm.
to have a particular sensation or impression of (often used reflexively and usually followed by an adjunct or complement):
to feel oneself slighted.
to have a general or thorough conviction of; think; believe:
I feel he's guilty.
verb (used without object), felt, feeling.
to have perception by touch or by any nerves of sensation other than those of sight, hearing, taste, and smell.
to make examination by touch; grope.
to perceive a state of mind or a condition of body:
to feel happy; to feel well.
to have a sensation of being:
to feel warm.
to make itself perceived or apparent; seem:
How does it feel to be rich?
a quality of an object that is perceived by feeling or touching:
the soft feel of cotton.
a sensation of something felt; a vague mental impression or feeling:
a feel of winter; a feel of sadness in the air.
the sense of touch:
soft to the feel.
native ability or acquired sensitivity:
to have a feel for what is right.
Informal. an act or instance of touching with the hand or fingers.
Slang: Vulgar. an act or instance of feeling up.
Verb phrases
feel for,
  1. to feel sympathy for or compassion toward; empathize with:
    I know you're disappointed and upset, and I feel for you.
  2. Southeastern Pennsylvania and Maryland. to have a liking or desire for:
    If you feel for more pie, just help yourself.
feel out, to attempt to ascertain (the nature of a situation, someone's attitude, etc.) by indirect or subtle means:
Why not feel out the other neighbors' opinions before you make a complaint.
feel up, Slang: Vulgar. to fondle or touch (someone) in a sexual manner.
feel up to, Informal. to feel or be able to; be capable of:
He didn't feel up to going to the theater so soon after his recent illness.
cop a feel, Slang: Vulgar. to touch another person's body sexually, often in a quick and surreptitious way.
feel like, Informal. to have a desire for; be favorably disposed to:
I don't feel like going out tonight. Do you feel like a movie?
feel like oneself, to be in one's usual frame of mind or state of health:
She hasn't been feeling like herself since the accident.
Also, feel oneself.
feel no pain. pain (def 5).
Origin of feel
before 900; Middle English felen, Old English fēlan; cognate with Old Saxon fōlian, German fühlen; akin to Old Norse falma to grope. See fumble
Related forms
overfeel, verb, overfelt, overfeeling.
refeel, verb, refelt, refeeling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for feel out
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The heat and the sun, which were unlessened by the autumn season, made him feel out of his element.

    An Iceland Fisherman Pierre Loti
  • No man, woman, or child was allowed to feel out of place, or unwelcome.

    Sixty years with Plymouth Church Stephen M. Griswold
  • But there would be a way, when she came to know the man utterly, when she came to feel out every nerve of his moral being.

    The Short Cut Jackson Gregory
  • From that time forward he seemed to feel out of his element at Plassans.

  • "I was afraid to come back for fear I'd feel out of it, but I don't," she added happily.

  • It made me feel out of breath, as if I had been walking too fast.

    My Austrian Love Maxime Provost
  • It must be because you feel out of your running in a real cow-country place like this.

    Poppea of the Post-Office Mabel Osgood Wright
  • We wanted to feel out the country and locate the buffalo herds.

  • I did not like to feel out of harmony with him, and so almost angrily I reproached him.

    The Light of Scarthey Egerton Castle
British Dictionary definitions for feel out


verb feels, feeling, felt (fɛlt)
to perceive (something) by touching
to have a physical or emotional sensation of (something): to feel heat, to feel anger
(transitive) to examine (something) by touch
(transitive) to find (one's way) by testing or cautious exploration
(copula) to seem or appear in respect of the sensation given: I feel tired, it feels warm
to have an indistinct, esp emotional conviction; sense (esp in the phrase feel in one's bones)
(intransitive) foll by for. to show sympathy or compassion (towards): I feel for you in your sorrow
to believe, think, or be of the opinion (that): he feels he must resign
(slang) (transitive) often foll by up. to pass one's hands over the sexual organs of
feel like, to have an inclination (for something or doing something): I don't feel like going to the pictures
feel oneself, feel quite oneself, to be fit and sure of oneself
(usually used with a negative or in a question) feel up to, to be fit enough for (something or doing something): I don't feel up to going out tonight
the act or an instance of feeling, esp by touching
the quality of or an impression from something perceived through feeling: the house has a homely feel about it
the sense of touch: the fabric is rough to the feel
an instinctive aptitude; knack: she's got a feel for this sort of work
Word Origin
Old English fēlan; related to Old High German fuolen, Old Norse fālma to grope, Latin palmapalm1
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
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Word Origin and History for feel out



Old English felan "to touch, perceive," from Proto-Germanic *foljan (cf. Old Saxon gifolian, Old Frisian fela, Dutch voelen, Old High German vuolen, German fühlen "to feel," Old Norse falma "to grope"), from PIE root *pal- "to touch, feel, shake, strike softly" (cf. Greek psallein "to pluck (the harp)," Latin palpare "to touch softly, stroke," palpitare "to move quickly"), perhaps ultimately imitative.

The sense in Old English was "to perceive through senses which are not referred to any special organ." Sense of "be conscious of a sensation or emotion" developed by late 13c.; that of "to have sympathy or compassion" is from c.1600. To feel like "want to" attested from 1829.


early 13c., "sensation, understanding," from feel (v.). Meaning "action of feeling" is from mid-15c. "Sensation produced by something" is from 1739. Noun sense of "sexual grope" is from 1932; from verbal phrase to feel (someone) up (1930).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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feel out in Medicine

feel (fēl)
v. felt (fělt), feel·ing, feels

  1. To perceive through the sense of touch.

  2. To perceive as a physical sensation, as of pain.

  3. To be conscious of a particular physical, mental, or emotional state.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for feel out

feel out

verb phrase

To inquire or investigate tentatively: Let's feel out the possibilities first (1920s+)


v,v phr

To touch, caress, or handle the buttocks, breasts, legs, crotch, etc; cop a feel (1930+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with feel out

feel out

Try cautiously or indirectly to ascertain someone's viewpoint or the nature of something. For example, We'd better feel out the author before we commit him to a publicity tour. This term alludes to physical groping. [ Late 1800s ]
Also see: take the pulse of
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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