touch-screen (n.) Look up touch-screen at
1974, from touch + screen (n.).
touch-up (n.) Look up touch-up at
"act of improvement requiring modest effort," 1872, from verbal phrase touch up "improve or finish (as a painting or drawing) with light strokes" (1715), from touch (v.) + up (adv.).
touchdown (n.) Look up touchdown at
1864, originally in rugby, where the ball is literally touched down on the other side of the goal, from verbal phrase (by 1859 in sports), from touch (v.) + down (adv.). As "landing of an aircraft" from 1935.
touche Look up touche at
exclamation acknowledging a hit in fencing, 1902, from French touché, past participle of toucher "to hit," from Old French touchier "to hit" (see touch (v.)). Extended (non-fencing) use by 1907.
touched (adj.) Look up touched at
"stirred emotionally," mid-14c., past participle adjective from touch (v.).
touching (adj.) Look up touching at
"affecting the emotions," c. 1600, present participle adjective from touch (v.).
touching (prep.) Look up touching at
"concerning, regarding," late 14c., from touch (v.), on model of French touchant.
touchpoint (n.) Look up touchpoint at
c. 1600, from touch + point (n.).
touchstone (n.) Look up touchstone at
late 15c., from touch (v.) in the Middle English sense "to test" (metal) + stone (n.). Fine-grained black quartz, used for testing the quality of gold and silver alloys by the color of the streak made by rubbing them on it. Also see basalt. Figurative sense is from 1530s.
touchwood (n.) Look up touchwood at
1570s, from touch (v.) + wood, probably from the notion of being set alight at the touch of a spark.
touchy (adj.) Look up touchy at
"apt to take offense at slight provocation," c. 1600, perhaps an alteration of tetchy (q.v.) influenced by touch (v.). Related: Touchiness.
tough (n.) Look up tough at
"street ruffian," 1866, American English, from tough (adj.).
tough (adj.) Look up tough at
Old English toh "strong and firm in texture, tenacious, sticky," from Proto-Germanic *tanhu- (source also of Middle Low German tege, Middle Dutch taey, Dutch taai, Old High German zach, German zäh), which Watkins suggests is from PIE *denk- "to bite," from the notion of "holding fast." See rough for spelling change.

From c. 1200 as "strong, powerful;" c. 1300 as "not tender or fragile;" early 14c. as "difficult to chew," also "hard to endure." Figurative sense of "steadfast" is mid-14c.; that of "hard to do, trying, laborious" is from 1610s. Verb tough it "endure the experience" is first recorded 1830, American English. Tough guy attested from 1901. Tough-minded first recorded 1907 in William James. Tough luck first recorded 1912; tough shit, dismissive retort to a complaint, is from 1946.
toughen (v.) Look up toughen at
1580s, from tough (adj.) + -en (1). Related: Toughened; toughening.
toughness (n.) Look up toughness at
mid-15c., from tough (adj.) + -ness.
toupee (n.) Look up toupee at
1727, from French toupet "tuft of hair, forelock," diminutive formed from Old French top "tuft, forelock, topknot" (12c.), from Frankish *top or another Germanic source related to top (n.1) "highest point." Originally an artificial curl or lock on the top of the head; a style, not necessarily a compensation for baldness. In 18c., also sometimes used of a person who wears a toupee. Slang short form toup is recorded from 1959.
tour (v.) Look up tour at
1746, "make a tour, travel about," from tour (n.). Related: Toured; touring.
tour (n.) Look up tour at
c. 1300, "a turn, a shift on duty," from Old French tor, tourn, tourn "a turn, trick, round, circuit, circumference," from torner, tourner "to turn" (see turn (v.)). Sense of "a continued ramble or excursion" is from 1640s. Tour de France as a bicycle race is recorded in English from 1916 (Tour de France Cycliste), distinguished from a motorcar race of the same name. The Grand Tour, a journey through France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy formerly was the finishing touch in the education of a gentleman.
tour de force (n.) Look up tour de force at
"feat of strength," 1802, French; see tour (n.) + force (n.).
tourism (n.) Look up tourism at
1811, from tour (n.) + -ism.
tourist (n.) Look up tourist at
1772, "one who makes a journey for pleasure, stopping here and there" (originally especially a travel-writer), from tour (n.) + -ist. Tourist trap attested from 1939, in Graham Greene. Related: Touristic.
tourmaline (n.) Look up tourmaline at
complete silicate of aluminum and boron, 1759, from French or German, ultimately from Sinhalese toramalli, a general name for cornelian.
tournament (n.) Look up tournament at
"medieval martial arts contest," c. 1200 (figurative), c. 1300 (literal), from Old French tornement "contest between groups of knights on horseback" (12c.), from tornoier "to joust, tilt, take part in tournaments" (see tourney). Modern use, in reference to games of skill, is recorded from 1761.
tournedos (n.) Look up tournedos at
fillet of steak dish, 1877, from French, from tourner "to turn" (see turn (v.)) + dos "back." According to French etymologists, "so called because the dish is traditionally not placed on the table but is passed behind the backs of the guests" [OED]. But there are other theories.
tourney (v.) Look up tourney at
c. 1300, from Anglo-French turneier, Old French tornoier "to joust, tilt," literally "turn around," from Vulgar Latin *tornizare, from Latin tornare "to turn" (see turn (v.)). Related: Tourneying.
tourney (n.) Look up tourney at
c. 1300, from Anglo-French turnei, Old French tornei "contest of armed men" (12c., Modern French tournoi), from tornoier "to joust, tilt" (see tourney (v.)).
tourniquet (n.) Look up tourniquet at
1690s, from French tourniquet "surgical tourniquet," also "turnstile" (16c.), diminutive of torner "to turn," from Old French torner (see turn (v.)).
tousle (v.) Look up tousle at
"pull roughly, disorder, dishevel," mid-15c., frequentative of -tousen "handle or push about roughly," probably from an unrecorded Old English *tusian, from Proto-Germanic *tus- (source also of Frisian tusen, Old High German erzusen, German zausen "to tug, pull, dishevel"); related to tease (v.). Related: Tousled; tousling.
Toussaint (n.) Look up Toussaint at
French, literally "feast of All Saints" (Nov. 1), from tous, plural of tout "all" + saint "saint."
tout (v.) Look up tout at
1700, thieves' cant, "to act as a lookout, spy on," from Middle English tuten "to peep, peer," probably from a variant of Old English totian "to stick out, peep, peer," from Proto-Germanic *tut- "project" (source also of Dutch tuit "sprout, snout," Middle Dutch tute "nipple, pap," Middle Low German tute "horn, funnel," Old Norse tota "teat, toe of a shoe"). The sense developed to "look out for jobs, votes, customers, etc., to try to get them" (1731), then "praise highly in an attempt to sell" (1920). Related: Touted; touting.
tow (n.1) Look up tow at
"the coarse, broken fibers of flax, hemp, etc., separated from the finer parts," late 14c., probably from Old English tow- "spinning" (in towlic "fit for spinning," tow-hus "spinning-room"), perhaps cognate with Gothic taujan "to do, make," Middle Dutch touwen "to knit, weave," from Proto-Germanic *taw- "to manufacture" (see taw (v.)).
tow (n.2) Look up tow at
c. 1600, "rope used in towing," from tow (v.). Meaning "act or fact of being towed" is from 1620s.
tow (v.) Look up tow at
"pull with a rope," Old English togian "to drag, pull," from Proto-Germanic *tugojanan (source also of Old English teon "to draw," Old Frisian togia "to pull about," Old Norse toga, Old High German zogon, German ziehen "to draw, pull, drag"), from PIE root *deuk- "to lead" (source also of Latin ducere "to lead"). Related: Towed; towing.
tow-truck (n.) Look up tow-truck at
1920, from tow (v.) + truck (n.).
toward (prep.) Look up toward at
Old English toweard "in the direction of," prepositional use of toweard (adj.) "coming, facing, approaching," from to (see to) + -ward.
towards (adv.) Look up towards at
Old English toweards, from toweard (adj.) "coming, facing, approaching" (see toward) + adverbial genitive ending.
towaway (adj.) Look up towaway at
also tow-away, 1956 in reference to parking zones, from verbal phrase, from tow (v.) + away (adv.).
towel (v.) Look up towel at
1836 (transitive); 1861 (intransitive), from towel (n.). Related: Towelled; towelling.
towel (n.) Look up towel at
mid-13c., from Old French toaille (12c.), from Frankish *thwahlja, from Proto-Germanic *thwahlijan (source also of Old Saxon thwahila, Middle Dutch dwale "towel," Dutch dwaal "altar cloth," Old High German dwehila "towel," German dialectal Zwehle "napkin"); related to German zwagen, Old English þwean "to wash." Spanish toalla, Italian tovaglia are Germanic loan-words. To throw in the towel "admit defeat" (1915) is from boxing.
towelette (n.) Look up towelette at
1896, originally a trade name, from towel (n.) + -ette.
tower (v.) Look up tower at
c. 1400, "rise high" (implied in towered); see tower (n.). Also, of hawks, "to fly high so as to swoop down on prey" (1590s). Related: Towering.
tower (n.1) Look up tower at
Old English torr "tower, watchtower," from Latin turris "a tower, citadel, high structure" (also source of Old French tor, 11c., Modern French tour; Spanish, Italian torre "tower"), possibly from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language. Meaning "lofty pile or mass" is recorded from mid-14c. Also borrowed separately 13c. as tour, from Old French tur; the modern spelling (1520s) represents a merger of the two forms.
tower (n.2) Look up tower at
"one who tows," 1610s, agent noun from tow (v.).
towhead (n.) Look up towhead at
also tow-head, in reference to tousled blond hair, 1830, from tow (n.1) + head (n.). Related: Towheaded.
towhee (n.) Look up towhee at
marsh-robin, 1730, so called for the note of its cry.
town (n.) Look up town at
Old English tun "enclosure, garden, field, yard; farm, manor; homestead, dwelling house, mansion;" later "group of houses, village, farm," from Proto-Germanic *tunaz, *tunan "fortified place" (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old Frisian tun "fence, hedge," Middle Dutch tuun "fence," Dutch tuin "garden," Old High German zun, German Zaun "fence, hedge"), an early borrowing from Celtic *dunon "hill, hill-fort" (source also of Old Irish dun, Welsh din "fortress, fortified place, camp," dinas "city," Gaulish-Latin -dunum in place names), from PIE *dhu-no- "enclosed, fortified place, hill-fort," from root *dheue- "to close, finish, come full circle" (see down (n.2)).

Meaning "inhabited place larger than a village" (mid-12c.) arose after the Norman conquest from the use of this word to correspond to French ville. The modern word is partially a generic term, applicable to cities of great size as well as places intermediate between a city and a village; such use is unusual, the only parallel is perhaps Latin oppidium, which occasionally was applied even to Rome or Athens (each of which was more properly an urbs).

First record of town hall is from late 15c. Town ball, version of baseball, is recorded from 1852. Town car (1907) originally was a motor car with an enclosed passenger compartment and open driver's seat. On the town "living the high life" is from 1712. Go to town "do (something) energetically" is first recorded 1933. Man about town "one constantly seen at public and private functions" is attested from 1734.
townhouse (n.) Look up townhouse at
1825, "a residence in a town," from town + house (n.) from a time when well-off families had country houses as well. As a type of suburban attached housing, c. 1968, American English.
townie (n.) Look up townie at
also townee "townsman, one raised in a town," 1827, often opposed to the university students or circus workers who were just passing through, from town + -ie.
township (n.) Look up township at
Old English tunscipe "inhabitants or population of a town;" see town + -ship. Applied in Middle English to "manor, parish, or other division of a hundred." Specific sense of "local division or district in a parish, each with a village or small town and its own church" is from 1530s; as a local municipal division of a county in U.S. and Canada, first recorded 1685. In South Africa, "area set aside for non-whites" from 1934.
townspeople (n.) Look up townspeople at
1640s, from genitive of town + people.