Recently some of my colleagues has started using the phrase "touch space" a lot, for example in sentences like "I just called you to touch space", or "I will touch space with him tomorrow".

I can deduce that it means something like "talk to" or "meet with", but what is the original meaning, what is the advantage of using "touch space", and where does it originate from ?

  • 5
    Are you sure you've not misheard the phrase touch base which is used frequently in examples like yours? Edit: see english.stackexchange.com/questions/21947/… regarding touch base
    – Dusty
    May 18, 2011 at 18:59
  • Yes, of course, that makes much more sense. Thanks.
    – acorn_jens
    May 18, 2011 at 22:04

1 Answer 1


There's a mishearing somewhere along the line. The expression is touch base.

The expression means to have [brief] contact with someone (to exchange news & views, or simply to remind each other that you still exist and have some kind of relationship). It derives from baseball, where the hitter has to actually touch each base as he runs round. The important thing there is that there must be contact with the base.

Baseball also gives us the expression touch all bases (more commonly, cover all bases), meaning to have a plan which covers all foreseeable eventualities. That metaphoric usage alludes to the fact that every base that's being passed must be touched.

Here's a brief summary of both usages

  • I agree. Ironically enough (the OP's handle is acorn_jens), this is called an Eggcorn ( see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggcorn ). P.S. I am not convinced that baseball is the proper analog. Returning to base for instructions is more in keeping with the usage.
    – horatio
    May 18, 2011 at 20:01
  • @horatio: I hate that word eggcorn. Anyway, here's a link from 1911 which specifically mentions it being used by the younger generation. Which I think implies a connection with baseball (or 'rounders', maybe?), rather than 'command centres'. books.google.com/… May 18, 2011 at 20:47
  • 1
    Yes, you are right. That must be it. I am from Copenhagen (Denmark), and at work (IT/Finance) we speak a mixture of danish/english, so we probably often mishear words. To make things worse, I asked a friend, and his answer was that it came from the song "Personal Jesus" where they sing "reach out and touch space". After googling the song, I found out that the true lyrics is "reach out and touch FAITH". So we are really struggling with english here :-) Thank you all, for your great answers !
    – acorn_jens
    May 18, 2011 at 22:08

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