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[v. ree-tuhch; n. ree-tuhch, ree-tuhch] /v. riˈtʌtʃ; n. ˈriˌtʌtʃ, riˈtʌtʃ/
verb (used with object)
to improve with new touches, highlights, or the like; touch up or rework, as a painting or makeup.
Photography. to alter (a negative or positive) after development by adding or removing lines, lightening areas, etc., with a pencil, brush, or knife.
to dye, tint, or bleach (a new growth of hair) to match or blend with the color of an earlier and previously dyed growth.
an added touch to a picture, painting, paint job, etc., by way of improvement or alteration.
an act or instance of dyeing new growth of hair to blend with previously dyed hair.
Origin of retouch
1675-85; < Middle French retoucher, equivalent to re- re- + toucher to touch
Related forms
retouchable, adjective
retoucher, noun
unretouched, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for retouch
  • Anyone liking his product cannot be satisfied by the results and will use any occasion to retouch his work.
  • Pressure retouch on the dorsal surface is less extensive and invasive, mostly occurring along the proximal half of one margin.
  • Enter data, such as coordinates of images and color specifications, into system to retouch and make color corrections.
  • retouch photographic negatives or original prints to correct defects.
  • They also scan old photographs and retouch them on the computer.
  • He also often enlarged them to make prints as big as twenty-one inches wide and to retouch portions of the pictures easily.
  • Digitally retouch images in order to enhance or soften photographs.
  • Both examples are crudely shaped by primary chipping without retouch.
British Dictionary definitions for retouch


verb (transitive)
to restore, correct, or improve (a painting, make-up, etc) with new touches
(photog) to alter (a negative or print) by painting over blemishes or adding details
to make small finishing improvements to
(archaeol) to detach small flakes from (a stone) in order to make a tool
the art or practice of retouching
a detail that is the result of retouching
a photograph, painting, etc, that has been retouched
(archaeol) fine percussion to shape flakes of stone into usable tools
Derived Forms
retouchable, adjective
retoucher, 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
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Word Origin and History for retouch

1640s, from French retoucher (13c.) "to touch again" (with a view to improving), from re- "again" (see re-) + toucher (see touch (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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