I'm looking for an (English) word meaning something that was being touched but no longer is - similar to disappear (for the visual sense).

I'm thinking at the moment about using DISTACTED or DISTACTUALED (which are apparently not words) for the past tense. The former sounds better, but the latter is (probably) more correct.

Anybody have any ideas?

  • If you want a word meaning something that was being touched but no longer is (a noun), why do you ask for an analogue to "disappear" (a verb)? Which do you want?
    – MetaEd
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 3:30
  • 1
    Why close? I see this as a reasonable question. Was visible, now disappeared -> was tactile, now ...? (became intangible/ intactile).
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 11:01
  • 2
    There isn't enough information in this question to provide an appropriate answer. Can you provide explicit examples of how this word would be used?
    – MrHen
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 15:22
  • Do you mean that (1) it is no longer being touched; or (2) it no longer exists?
    – TrevorD
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 23:26
  • Is there a single word for "in contact with"? Contact as a verb generally means "make contact with"; it doesn't mean that two objects stay touching. Consequently I believe you want "not in contact with", although you might consider distant.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 7:18

4 Answers 4


There are a few options I can think of, but they all have more specific contexts than the generalized term you're seeking.

  1. Dropped: object was being held (not merely touched) and was allowed to fall
  2. Released/Unhanded: object was freed from a restraining grip (not a mere touch)
  3. Relinquished: Similar to released/unhanded but also refers to posession or control, vs. strictly touch.

Neither "tact" nor "tactual" are verbs meaning "touch," so I'd avoid inventing words like "distacted" or "distactualed." They'd end up looking like typographical errors and would just confuse the reader.


Released. This would be the normal reference for a button or switch no longer being pressed, but it suggests the thing has returned to a default state, so would not be appropriate for, for example, a gearshift lever that stays where you put it.


Uncontrolled, unconstrained.

Unhanded is actually a word. Or at least in the form "unhand me, you cad".

Assuming the point is that this thing is now free to do something, you might be better off focusing on the action. "The lever, now free to move, began to vibrate, and edged toward ever higher settings."


Disengaged Definition and selected examples from Oxford Living Dictionaries

1 [with object] Separate or release (someone or something) from something to which they are attached or connected:

‘I disengaged his hand from mine’

A one-hand or a two-hand release disengages the locking features.’

The references gives many more example sentences. Also,

2 [with object] Remove (troops) from an area of conflict:

Example: ‘the ceasefire gave the commanders a chance to disengage their forces’

Example [no object] ‘plans were already afoot for the Americans to disengage from the city’

Again, the references gives many more example sentences.


vanish - dissipate - fade away - evanesce

I never heard "distacted".

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