Definition of feel in English:

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Pronunciation: /fiːl/

verb (past and past participle felt /fɛlt/)

[with object]
1Be aware of (a person or object) through touching or being touched: she felt someone touch her shoulder you can feel the soft grass beneath your feet
More example sentences
  • Both of them were pacing around the beach, feeling the hot sand beneath their cold feet.
  • He suddenly felt his brother's hand on his arm.
  • I can almost feel the texture of candyfloss in my hair or the stickiness of a toffee apple all over my face.
perceive, sense, detect, discern, make out, notice, observe, identify;
be sensible of, have a sensation of, be aware of, be conscious of
1.1Be aware of (something happening) through physical sensation: she felt the ground give way beneath her
More example sentences
  • Lise felt the vibrations on the ground coming closer.
  • While it is still winter, we can start to feel the change in climate upon us.
  • I didn't know what was going on, but apparently they had felt the vibrations from the quake and come out of the sand.
1.2Examine or search by touch: he touched her head and felt her hair [no object]: he felt around for the matches
More example sentences
  • Mac ran a hand over his short hair, then gently felt the bump on the back of his head.
  • I felt around under the bed for some kind of weapon: if they made one more move on him it'd be their last.
  • I felt around and found some old newspapers and tried to cover myself.
touch, stroke, caress, fondle, finger, thumb, handle, manipulate, fiddle with, play with, toy with, maul;
put one's hand on, lay a finger on
informal paw
test, try, try out, assess
1.3 [no object] Be capable of sensation: the dead cannot feel
More example sentences
  • I don't feel, can't feel, don't want to feel.
  • Collections of people do not have unique consciousness or identities: ‘society’ and ‘the people’ do not feel, need, think, or have rights.
1.4 [no object, with complement] Give a sensation of a particular physical quality when touched: the wool feels soft
More example sentences
  • Rest assured that the material used in this is of a much higher quality, and feels good to the touch.
  • I continued to feel relaxed all evening, my face had a healthy glow and my skin had never felt softer.
  • Remove the garlic and continue cooking the aubergine for a further ten minutes, or until it feels soft and the skin is charred and black.
seem, appear, strike one as
1.5 (feel something out) informal Investigate something cautiously: they want to feel out the situation
More example sentences
  • They were cautiously feeling things out, but when the conversation didn't blow up in their faces, their voices grew more confident.
  • After you feel the situation out you can take appropriate action.
  • An analyst reported that elements in the army were feeling out support from foreign governments for a move against the president.
1.6 (feel someone up) informal Fondle someone surreptitiously and without their consent, for one’s own sexual stimulation.
Example sentences
  • So, if you want to get close, maybe try to feel out her worldview before you feel her up.
  • They groped us, felt us up and thrust their pelvic regions into our backsides.
  • Yeah, he was just feeling you up and getting off with you!
2Experience (an emotion or sensation): I felt a sense of excitement [no object, with complement]: she started to feel really sick it felt odd to be alone again [no object]: we feel very strongly about freedom of expression
More example sentences
  • He might feel shock or surprise or perhaps amusement, and I did not want my gift to give rise to any of these thoughts in him.
  • Reddish tints gleamed in her hair, and he felt the urge to run his hands through it.
  • They both grinned at me and I suddenly felt uncomfortable under their gazes.
experience, undergo, go through, bear, endure, suffer, be forced to contend with;
know, have
2.1 [no object, with complement] Consider oneself to be in a particular state or exhibiting particular qualities: he doesn’t feel obliged to visit every weekend she felt such a fool
More example sentences
  • The survey highlighted that 68 per cent of the residents feel safer now than they did before the Neighbourhood Wardens started.
  • Parents feel helpless in today's changing world and wonder how to cope with the truant child.
  • There's no gate at the entrance and students just don't feel safe.
2.2 [no object] (feel up to) Have the strength and energy to do or deal with: after the accident she didn’t feel up to driving
More example sentences
  • She asked if we needed any help, and I said we could maybe use a hand if she felt up to it.
  • I have not felt up to writing this description of events until today.
  • Be gentle with yourself if you don't feel up to exercising.
2.3 [usually with negative] (feel oneself) Be healthy and well: Ruth was not quite feeling herself
More example sentences
  • I wasn't really concentrating and I wasn't feeling myself.
  • Two decades ago she was a highly driven academic - until the fateful morning when she got out of bed feeling not quite herself.
2.4Be strongly affected by: he didn’t feel the loss of his mother so keenly investors who have felt the effects of the recession
More example sentences
  • Art is a luxury, so our industry often feels an economic downturn before other industries.
  • As a committed family man he would have felt those tragedies keenly.
  • When trading started again on Monday morning, the financial impact of the failure was quickly felt.
2.5 [no object] (feel for) Have compassion for: poor woman—I do feel for her
More example sentences
  • People have truly felt for the victims and responded with money and in other ways.
  • We feel deeply for the plight of the refugees.
  • He does not feel for the families of the dead or for the thirty-five million of us who live in poverty.
sympathize with, be sorry for, pity, feel pity for, feel sympathy for, feel compassion for, empathize with, identify with, be moved by, weep for, grieve for, sorrow for;
commiserate with, condole with
archaic compassion
3 [with clause] Have a belief or impression, especially without an identifiable reason: she felt that the woman positively disliked her
More example sentences
  • Lesley now feels her search has hit a brick wall and would desperately like help or advice on how to take it further.
  • Probably only two seconds had gone by, but it felt like an eternity.
  • I knew there were lots of things I wasn't doing right but I always felt I was capable of it, you know?
sense, have a feeling, get the impression, feel in one's bones, have a hunch, have a funny feeling, just know, intuit
3.1Hold an opinion: I felt I could make a useful contribution
More example sentences
  • Former party official Matthew Taylor feels that conference has become ‘ritualistic and pointless’.
  • In the end, Lee felt the parties were looking to exploit his difficulties for publicity.
  • Interviews with a number of children and their parents emphasised how successful they felt the event to be.
believe, think, consider it right, consider, fancy, be of the opinion, hold, maintain, judge, deem;
suspect, suppose, assume, presume, conclude, come to the conclusion that;
North American  figure
informal reckon


[usually in singular]
1An act of touching something to examine it.
Example sentences
  • I let him have a feel of my hair and kept saying ‘it's a bit of a shock, isn't it?’ (must have been terrifying for a two year old!).
  • At 11.25 I wondered if I had any spots that might need squeezing and had a feel round my face.
  • The girls were dancing about and the men were trying to get a feel as they walked by, and things were getting out of hand.
1.1 [mass noun] The sense of touch: he worked by feel rather than using his eyes
More example sentences
  • Their bumpy quality comes from the raised relief so blind people can identify different bills by feel.
  • The best way to tell a ripe avocado is by feel.
  • It was fairly rough to the feel, and looked like it had been made out of crushed granite, cement, and water mixed together.
touch, sense of touch, tactile sense, tactility, feeling, feeling one's way, contact;
2A sensation given by an object or material when touched: nylon cloth with a cotton feel
More example sentences
  • The fabric is made of 43% polyester and 57% combed cotton, with a cotton-rich feel.
  • It was a light gray coat made of a material that had the feel of soft fur, but the look of well-made leather.
  • Polyurethane is extremely light and has the feel of hardened styrene foam.
texture, surface, finish, grain, nap;
weight, thickness, consistency;
quality, character
2.1The impression given by something: a cafe with a cosmopolitan feel
More example sentences
  • But the film's authentic feel is undermined by a series of political compromises.
  • The seats are very close together, and this lends an intimate, crowded feel to the place.
  • The first is to give an overall feel of the film.
atmosphere, ambience, aura, mood, feeling, air, impression, climate, character, overtone, undertone, tenor, spirit, quality, flavour, colour
informal vibrations, vibes, vibe
rare subcurrent
3 (feels) informal Feelings of heightened emotion: fans will undoubtedly get the feels when they see how things haven’t changed I cry at everything, even the types of movies you wouldn’t expect to give you all the feels



feel one's age

Become aware that one is growing older and less energetic.
Example sentences
  • He misses her terribly, and for the first time, he is truly feeling his age.
  • I most certainly do not feel my age but we are made to feel that we are well and truly past it.
  • He doesn't feel his age, 61, and loves performing and meeting the fans that still flock to these performances.

feel free (to do something)

Have no hesitation or shyness (often used as an invitation or for reassurance): feel free to say what you like
More example sentences
  • I hope you will feel free to contact me with your ideas and questions.
  • You can only choose one director, but feel free to discuss or criticize others' choices.
  • And if something doesn't work, then feel free to change it, or make something else that does work.

feel like (doing) something

Be inclined to have or do: I feel like celebrating
More example sentences
  • I felt like crying most of Sunday and Monday, but that's normal.
  • After dinner we felt like a drink.
  • He tried to joke, but I just did not feel like laughing.
want, would like, wish for, desire, fancy, feel in need of, feel the need for, long for, crave, hanker after, pine for, thirst for, be desperate for, be bent on
informal have a yen for, yen for, be dying for

feel one's oats

see oat.

feel the pinch

see pinch.

feel the pulse of

see pulse1.

feel small

see small.

feel one's way

Find one’s way by touch rather than sight: he felt his way back to the stairs
More example sentences
  • Knowing the layout well enough to find the cups in the dark, she felt her way around.
  • He placed a hand on either side of the tunnel trying to feel his way down the stairway.
  • A mouse uses its whiskers to feel its way around.
grope, fumble, scrabble, pick, poke, explore
8.1Proceed cautiously, especially in a situation that is unfamiliar: she was new in the job, still feeling her way
More example sentences
  • You know, being new to the position, I still had to feel my way through.
  • I am part of a generation which is still feeling its way.
  • Its more of a guideline to feel your way into the gaming world.

get a (or the) feel for (or of)

Become accustomed to: you can explore to get a feel of the place
More example sentences
  • I just came down here today to take in the buzz and get the feel of the atmosphere and it was great.
  • We got a feel for their lifestyle and for what was important to them.
  • That's the one thing that he's been maybe a little bit slow at, just because he's still getting a feel for it.

have a feel for

Have a sensitive appreciation or an intuitive understanding of: you have to have a feel for animals
More example sentences
  • He has always had a feel for what the audience wants and never knowingly undersells a great event or oversells a poor event.
  • I really have a feel for what regular people like.
  • I don't have a feel for who I think is going to win this election.

make oneself (or one's presence) felt

Have a noticeable effect or influence: the economic crisis began to make itself felt
More example sentences
  • The net effect is a vast area poor in resources, an effect that makes itself felt throughout the food web.
  • The effects of over-consumption make themselves felt - this is acknowledged in the conclusion, but not in the body of the argument.
  • First there was the effect of the recession, which began to make itself felt around midsummer.


Old English fēlan, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch voelen and German fühlen.

Words that rhyme with feel

allele, anele, anneal, appeal, Bastille, Beale, Castile, chenille, cochineal, cockatiel, conceal, congeal, creel, deal, eel, Emile, freewheel, genteel, Guayaquil, heal, heel, he'll, keel, Kiel, kneel, leal, Lille, Lucille, manchineel, meal, misdeal, Neil, O'Neill, ordeal, peal, peel, reel, schlemiel, seal, seel, she'll, spiel, squeal, steal, steel, Steele, teal, underseal, veal, weal, we'll, wheel, zeal

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Line breaks: feel

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