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[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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "If the natives are that touchy, we'll still have to be careful," Sweets said.

    Big Stupe Charles V. De Vet
  • Tim often said he would be a soldier when he came to be a man, and was touchy on the point.

    Kilgorman Talbot Baines Reed
  • Babbitt had recovered from his touchy wrath before Joe returned.

    Babbitt Sinclair Lewis
  • No small stint I had of it too; for he was peevish and touchy as a young badger.

    Left on Labrador Charles Asbury Stephens
  • So the place is not used for the tea and the last water is not more boiling than is touchy.

    Geography and Plays Gertrude Stein
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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