Definition of touchy in English:



  • 1Easily upset or offended; oversensitive.

    ‘she's a little touchy about her age’
    • ‘Before the Parkinsons he was never a touchy kind of guy.’
    • ‘And having tasted success, he is touchy about the movies he accepts.’
    • ‘Car owners have also become so touchy and fussy about the parking space that any encroachment leads to heated arguments and bouts of fisticuffs.’
    • ‘They often lash out suddenly and for no apparent reason, and may seem to be touchy or irritable most of the time.’
    • ‘Diplomats from other countries were as touchy.’
    • ‘If a woman is touchy about one thing it is usually her age.’
    • ‘Hooke was a difficult man, fiercely competitive, touchy, quarrelsome, and a vicious critic.’
    • ‘Now that the national has gone from relaxed and comfortable to alert but not alarmed, everyone's a little touchy about who might be up to no good.’
    • ‘We get touchy about letting too many of these discoveries out of the bag too soon, because we want to be the first to publish them and the leading authorities on the subject.’
    • ‘In fact, estate agents are extremely touchy about how much they influence ever-spiralling house prices.’
    • ‘Suffice to say, the authorities may have been a bit touchy.’
    • ‘Certainly, the Americans have always been notoriously touchy when it comes to the inevitable gamesmanship that is always a part of match play at every level.’
    • ‘Okay, I'm touchy at the moment, that goes without saying.’
    • ‘If you go too slowly, the person thinks you don't want to hug them, and you have a touchy, cranky person on your hands for the rest of the evening.’
    • ‘They seem a touchy and aggressive lot and none of them seem to realize that aggression just leads to counter-aggression.’
    • ‘And with Americans so touchy about their civil liberties, the Feds have to be legally covered to the hilt before they go snooping.’
    • ‘Miller acknowledges that fans of the first record might still feel estranged from the band and understand why fans of the genre can be so touchy.’
    • ‘This explains why the French are so touchy about their language.’
    • ‘Even cool Capricorns can get touchy and easily upset during the Time of the Crab.’
    • ‘Like other rail bosses, Mr Pollard is touchy about accusations that not enough has been done to improve rail safety in the year since Paddington.’
    sensitive, oversensitive, hypersensitive, easily offended, thin-skinned
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    1. 1.1 (of an issue or situation) requiring careful handling; delicate.
      ‘the monarchy has become a touchy topic’
      • ‘The homeless can make for a touchy subject for artists.’
      • ‘This is a touchy topic, and not just because people tend to assume that understanding is a precursor to forgiveness.’
      • ‘Suicide is a touchy subject for the media, indeed the coroner has a full page of guidelines on how to write about it without inadvertently promoting it.’
      • ‘For whatever sophistication guess hitting may require, it's also a touchy subject.’
      • ‘They've actually hit upon a touchy topic here, so the less you let them know it bothers you, the better off you'll be.’
      • ‘He addressed the touchy issue of European-American relations.’
      • ‘This young man obviously knows how to handle touchy diplomatic situations.’
      • ‘So we thought as well, but let's thank Shirley for breaking down the walls of stereotypical misconceptions about this touchy subject.’
      • ‘In any event, the White House tonight is maintaining a diplomatic silence on this apparently very touchy subject.’
      • ‘So this is a touchy issue and may not be true for all cases of guys.’
      • ‘Residential crowding on campus is a touchy topic for upperclassmen.’
      • ‘By acquiescing to both England and Germany through the Iberian Indecision, France completely avoids this touchy issue.’
      • ‘Suggesting that design controls might have a racial aspect to them is a touchy topic, however it is naive to pretend that they might not.’
      • ‘Solid waste has become a touchy issue these days, with tempers flaring up at the slightest mention of the topic anywhere.’
      • ‘The biggest expenditure in those days was the horse feed for the fire department, a touchy subject in a town that had already burned down a couple of times by then.’
      • ‘In this kind of situation, touchy subjects are skirted and cones of silence descend.’
      • ‘This was unsurprising, since the topic is touchy and the play controversial.’
      • ‘The city, hoping to stave off a touchy situation, tested the water, which turned out to be harmless.’
      • ‘The natural body, the body as nature, and the nature of the body are three touchy topics in the realm of culture studies.’
      • ‘It's a touchy issue, I realize how complex and personal these decisions are to some people.’
      delicate, sensitive, tricky, ticklish, thorny, knotty, embarrassing, uncomfortable, uneasy, precarious, chancy, risky, uncertain, contentious, controversial, awkward, difficult
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Early 17th century: perhaps an alteration of tetchy, influenced by touch.