Definition of tactile in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtaktʌɪl/


1Of or connected with the sense of touch: vocal and visual signals become less important as tactile signals intensify
More example sentences
  • I first become fully aware of my own tactile sense.
  • There are 10,000 tactile receptors on the skin of one hand awaiting signals.
  • As an adult, the still-lonely Amélie struggles to connect with anyone and takes pleasure in such simple, tactile things as skimming stones or thrusting her hand into a bag of dried lentils.
1.1Perceptible by touch or apparently so; tangible: she had a distinct, almost tactile memory of the girl fleeing
More example sentences
  • Things were obviously being created but they were tangible and tactile which allowed you to accept them more easily.
  • So, while we are getting an abstract account of the literal affair, we are also getting a concrete account, a tactile version of that very abstraction.
  • The trunk of Oak at Field's Edge is broad, solid and tactile, but the lower branches are shadows, and the leaves and shrubbery dissolve into a green miasma.
1.2Designed to be perceived by touch: tactile exhibitions help blind people enjoy the magic of sculpture
More example sentences
  • If there is a round in the chamber, the indicator pops up, providing a tactile as well as visual signal to the shooter.
  • As the flesh-like tones play off each other, the gritty, tactile nature of the surface tempts the touch of the viewer.
  • Hands are used regularly, albeit that several exhibits carry the request Please Do Not Touch, a somewhat ironic stricture in the tactile land of the pop-up book.
1.3(Of a person) given to touching other people, especially as an unselfconscious expression of sympathy or affection: he took her in his arms—he’s a very tactile person
More example sentences
  • When Paul and I had discussed my issues with his behaviour, he had explained that he was a very tactile person.
  • Then they hugged and kissed my mother and father; Greeks are such tactile people.
  • However, she denied any truth in the rumours, her spokesperson explaining that Jennifer is simply a naturally tactile person.



Pronunciation: /takˈtɪlɪti/
Example sentences
  • With full-size prototypes, mock-ups and models made with sample materials, tactility, texture, tone and technique are expressed.
  • The blind boy's consciousness is evoked in images of heightened tactility and a diminished visual field, so that space in the film is not so much displayed as put together out of the sounds we hear and things we touch.
  • Mitchell loved the tradition, the tactility, the glorious mess of it.


Early 17th century (in the sense 'perceptible by touch, tangible'): from Latin tactilis, from tangere 'to touch'.

  • tact from mid 17th century:

    Tact in early examples referred to the sense of touch. It comes from Latin tactus ‘touch, sense of touch’, from tangere ‘to touch’. The word developed a notion of ‘sensitivity’ and in the late 18th century gained its modern sense ‘delicacy in dealing with others’. The Latin source also gave the English word tactile which in the early 17th century meant ‘perceptible by touch’, and tangible (late 16th century). Tangent (late 16th century), first used in geometry to mean ‘touching’, is also from tangere.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tact|ile

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