Definition of tactile in US English:



  • 1Of or connected with the sense of touch.

    ‘vocal and visual signals become less important as tactile signals intensify’
    • ‘The card is inserted into and ejected out of the connector body by a reliable, tactile push action.’
    • ‘We are all the subjects of a constantly changing stream of sensory experience - visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory - that puts us in touch with objects and events in our environment.’
    • ‘When conflicts between the senses occur, vision tends to bias both auditory and tactile perception.’
    • ‘And since people are still unaccustomed to the feel of the new paper, they won't notice if your fakes aren't a perfect tactile match.’
    • ‘Just as our evolved visual preferences are the raw material for visual art, so our evolved tactile preferences are the raw material for massage.’
    • ‘Children who choose to trace over the letters will get a tactile as well as a visual sense of the letter shape.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘By playing with these cards, children were meant to acquire a sense of order through their tactile as well as their visual experiences.’
    • ‘The perception of being pressed by a cat was not always based on visual hallucination and physical testimony, but also on tactile sensation.’
    • ‘I first become fully aware of my own tactile sense.’
    • ‘As a measure for exploration, we assessed latencies between introduction of the objects and first tactile contact, the number of objects touched, and the duration of tactile exploration.’
    • ‘Be creative, for our connection with herbs is distinctly tactile.’
    • ‘Add tactile and personal touches that are likely to improve the bonding between buyer and seller.’
    • ‘The architecture of the brain attaches a very complex structure to each region of the visual or tactile field, a kind of a minibrain connected to all the other minibrains.’
    • ‘What resulted was a game that appealed to neither the physical exhilaration of basketball or the tactile delight of its medium.’
    • ‘Imagery should involve as many of the five senses - auditory, olfactory, tactile, gustatory and kinesthetic - as possible.’
    • ‘In dreams, we can experience sights, sounds, and tactile sensations, in the real absence of the objects of sensation.’
    • ‘Apes are particularly adept at tactile communications; that is use of touch.’
    • ‘The pad of the trigger finger should be able to feel the holster material pass beneath it - one more tactile index of safety, as the gun, slides into its receptacle.’
    • ‘There are 10,000 tactile receptors on the skin of one hand awaiting signals.’
    1. 1.1 Perceptible by touch or apparently so; tangible.
      ‘she had a distinct, almost tactile memory’
      • ‘Things were obviously being created but they were tangible and tactile which allowed you to accept them more easily.’
      • ‘She was solid, a block of doughy flesh, ample and tactile and pleasantly odorous.’
      • ‘The stimulation in a holding therapy is primarily tactile and physical, frequently including forced holding.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Here the phenomenon of lyrical and tactile darkness is as fragile in his memory and consciousness as the elusive tropes of a poem.’
      • ‘The second side bears a greater sense of gravity, far more tactile than anything else the group has yet attempted.’
      • ‘In her own words, she is a kinesthetic learner, which means that she needs education to be a tactile experience, to be able to touch things rather than the usual passive methods of looking and listening.’
      • ‘I mean, just the fact that you're dealing with the physical world, with actualities and tactile objects, changes the nature of what you're doing.’
      touchable, palpable, material, physical, real, substantial, corporeal, solid, concrete
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Designed to be perceived by touch.
      ‘tactile exhibitions help blind people enjoy the magic of sculpture’
      • ‘Brickwork also has a more tactile and responsive surface texture than concrete, as manifest by the warm sensuousness of the book stack hall.’
      • ‘Sometimes the application of grip or a bandage in the initial stages can give the tactile stimulus necessary to assist with joint position sense in the short term.’
      • ‘In addition to allowing self-direction, these activities emphasized visual, tactile, and auditory materials.’
      • ‘Print media is tactile, has more of a sense of permanence, and is distributable without dependence on technology or a connected society.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As the flesh-like tones play off each other, the gritty, tactile nature of the surface tempts the touch of the viewer.’
      • ‘The red colored indicator provides an instant visible and tactile indicator that there is a round chambered.’
      • ‘If there is a round in the chamber, the indicator pops up, providing a tactile as well as visual signal to the shooter.’
      • ‘The user receives feedback about the scene in the form of audio signals, and an additional tactile interface is being developed for future prototypes.’
      • ‘The paintings have been created using tactile road-surface materials such as sand, grit, gravel and liquid tar.’
      • ‘All the elements are meant to be tactile and to stimulate different physical reactions to the spaces.’
      • ‘It supplements the visual experience with auditory commentary, tactile maps, and touchable models to provide information about a room or an exhibit.’
    3. 1.3 (of a person) given to touching others, especially as an unselfconscious expression of sympathy or affection.
      • ‘My mother was much jollier, a more tactile woman.’
      • ‘Usually I hate tactile people but it worked this time.’
      • ‘I'm more tactile now and hug everyone, male and female.’
      • ‘Now Tsetso is very tactile and has a habit of touching and poking people when talking to them, and also a tendency to put his face very close to you, giving a little laugh: ‘uh hu hu.’’
      • ‘Maybe Bob is just an extremely tactile person or maybe he's thinking, hey, this won't last forever.’
      • ‘Matt isn't a very tactile guy, but he's very good about it.’
      • ‘I hug my more tactile friends in greeting and farewell, and hug some of my other friends if I'm a little drunk.’
      • ‘Plus, she thinks that I'm flaunting whatever relationship I have with him in front of her, and basically has a real qualm about us being tactile.’
      • ‘Then they hugged and kissed my mother and father; Greeks are such tactile people.’
      • ‘She is by her own admission a tactile person.’
      • ‘For example, I would love to be able to be more affectionate and tactile with people, but I feel really funny about hugging and kissing my friends.’
      • ‘When Paul and I had discussed my issues with his behaviour, he had explained that he was a very tactile person.’
      • ‘Now, I am not so naive as to think that this is anything more than innocent touching, and, if he is anything like me, then being tactile and touchy-feely with people is nothing out of the ordinary.’
      • ‘However, she denied any truth in the rumours, her spokesperson explaining that Jennifer is simply a naturally tactile person.’
      • ‘People here are incredibly tactile and try to touch you a lot.’
      • ‘I am eager to find out if he is as tactile in real life as he is in my head.’
      • ‘My grandfather was not a tactile man and this created patterns of behaviour which impacted on us.’


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