Definition of retouch in English:



[with object]
  • Improve or repair (a painting, photograph, or other image) by making slight additions or alterations.

    ‘full-colour images can be retouched, enhanced, or colour-corrected’
    • ‘Justine says, ‘Everything is retouched, though I like to try to keep a ‘realness’ to my work.’
    • ‘He instructed the marquise in drawing and sometimes retouched her engravings.’
    • ‘Thanks to its faster processor, consumers can retouch photos, talk with friends, and surf the Internet at the same time.’
    • ‘Distinctions between what is recreated, retouched and invented digitally are difficult to discern.’
    • ‘He then applied a diluted oil-based, semi-opaque wash to soften the lines and then carefully retouched the details using dots made by a fine brush, before applying another very thin wash in a kind of sandwich, Franck says.’
    • ‘Penetrating sealers (mentioned under staining) penetrate the pores of the wood, so the finish wears as the wood wears and can be retouched with wax in heavy-traffic areas.’
    • ‘Sixty years before the Russian revolution, Abraham Lincoln credited a photographer with assisting in his electoral victory by retouching a portrait to shorten his neck and make him appear more youthful.’
    • ‘I'm still using film, which I scan, retouch in Photo Shop, and print on an inkjet.’
    • ‘If needed, the image is digitally retouched to amplify contrast between the art work and its photographic matrix.’
    • ‘That is why people fight for access to the laboratories where photographs are retouched and biographies are rewritten.’
    • ‘Adobe Photoshop was originally created as a convenient and powerful way to retouch photos.’
    • ‘Hearing that Hargreaves had touched up the woman's face as well, he sent for the picture and found that the face had indeed been retouched.’
    • ‘Yes, of course he was: he was consulting the very portfolios and notebooks where those copies were kept, retouching his early paintings, and even going to the Louvre to copy as late as 1897.’
    • ‘There, on display at newsstands from coast to coast, was a photo of the New American Family, looking for all the world like a Norman Rockwell painting retouched by Charles Addams.’
    • ‘Heartfield had a production team to cut, retouch, add type, and otherwise make the photomontages, which makes him more of an art director.’
    • ‘It should be remembered, however, that many copper plates survived the death of an artist such as Rembrandt, and were retouched and republished by various persons, in some cases for centuries.’
    • ‘In three adjoining rooms, thousands of images are scanned, color-corrected, digitally retouched, and readied for Web distribution.’
    • ‘The camera sends the images into a computer network, where they are retouched, catalogued, and subjected to the wonders of technology.’
    • ‘Creating a collotype in which he hand retouched his gestural marks to give them the correct scale, and adding color notes in the margin, Hamilton layered it in a 40-color screenprint.’
    • ‘Jabach is known to have retouched drawings in his collection, and Viatte suggests that all the drapery studies have suffered this fate.’
    update, bring up to date, bring into the twenty-first century, drag into the twenty-first century, lead into the twenty-first century, march into the twenty-first century, streamline, rationalize, technologize, overhaul, develop
    View synonyms


Late 17th century: probably from French retoucher.