Definition of touch (or hit) a nerve (or a raw nerve) in English:

touch (or hit) a nerve (or a raw nerve)

phrase

  • Provoke a reaction by referring to a sensitive topic.

    • ‘When discussions about ‘vision’ spiral out from the rarefied policy circles of Washington into the editorial pages of mainstream newspapers, you know that topic has hit a nerve.’
    • ‘‘The prison issue and the hunger strike hits a nerve with nationalists, and in particular, republicans,’ said another senior republican.’
    • ‘Boutin's comments touched a nerve that was already close to the surface, and my observations are directed towards a greater cultural issue.’
    • ‘Sometimes, the interview, which is often recorded in a single take, touches a raw nerve; hard-nosed politicians have been known to shed a tear upon reminiscing about an aspect of their past that has a special significance for them.’
    • ‘Well, I agree with the previous comment that he hit a nerve.’
    • ‘So when Vince is hired by a suspicious husband to find out if his wife is having an affair, it's a case that's touches a raw nerve.’
    • ‘Residents had been unable to reach the bodies for nearly a week, touching a nerve because Islam requires immediate burial of the dead.’
    • ‘You've touched a nerve with this topic and it smarts.’
    • ‘And I think he touched a nerve, which is why we're seeing so much reaction, not just in the media but on Capitol Hill, as you just showed.’
    • ‘Clearly I have touched a nerve as you can tell from reading Aaron's comment.’