9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[tuhch-ee] /ˈtʌtʃ i/
adjective, touchier, touchiest.
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 techy, by association with touch
Related forms
touchily, adverb
touchiness, noun
1. testy, irascible, edgy, snappish, cranky. See irritable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for touchy
  • One of the barriers to publishing a story about diamond growers is that almost everyone involved is touchy about secrecy.
  • Scientists are finding that glaciers and ice sheets are surprisingly touchy.
  • Biological drugs depend on touchy manufacturing processes.
  • She became touchy and sarcastic, alienated friends and was soon fired from her job.
  • However scientists are sometimes, and maybe wrongly so, touchy about priority.
  • Apparently people are rather touchy about the possibility of increasing their level of happiness.
  • They can look at her lovely lady lumps, but no touchy the humpy.
  • People get especially touchy about deficits when they are personally strapped.
  • Despite attempts by centrist politicians to ignore this touchy topic, it refuses to go away.
  • But push him a bit, and the façade drops-he gets touchy and defensive, starts snapping.
British Dictionary definitions for touchy


adjective touchier, touchiest
easily upset or irritated; oversensitive
extremely risky
easily ignited
Derived Forms
touchily, adverb
touchiness, 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 touchy

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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