Definition of touch something off in English:

touch something off

phrasal verb

  • 1Cause something to ignite or explode by touching it with a lighted match.

    • ‘Often though, what we find is ugly surplus ammo that's just scary-enough to make you tense-a-bit when you touch it off.’
    • ‘When you touch it off though, it gets your attention.’
    • ‘When they were touched off, you truly felt like there was a thunderstick in your hand!’
    • ‘Throw in the need to launch him across the room via strategically placed crossbows so that the dynamite can be touched off and you have a typical puzzle found in VV.’
    detonate, set off, trigger, explode, spark, spark off
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    1. 1.1 Cause something to happen suddenly.
      ‘there was concern that the move could touch off a trade war’
      • ‘But apparently what really touched it off was his discussion of the creation of a Palestinian state as part of administration policy.’
      • ‘The killer waves were touched off by a 9.0 earthquake, six miles under the Indian Ocean.’
      • ‘As in Georgia and Ukraine, a rebellion was touched off in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan last week by popular outrage over an unfair election.’
      • ‘There is an incident of some kind that touches it off.’
      • ‘One of the many earthquakes that rocked the campaign was touched off when Goldwater offhandedly said that Minuteman missiles, one of the mainstays of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, were undependable.’
      initiate, set off, start, begin, set in motion, instigate, ignite, trigger, trigger off, stir up, provoke, foment, cause, give rise to, lead to, generate, actuate, launch
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  • 2(of a racehorse) defeat another horse in a race by a short margin.

    ‘Royal Ballerina was touched off by Intrepidity in the English Oaks’