to influence someone or something emotionally, or cause feelings of sympathy in someone.
 e.g. The TV report about the children's work for charity touched thousands of people's hearts.

— Cambridge Dictionary

Above is the definition of “touch” in the sense of emotionally affecting somebody. However, “touch” doesn't have such meaning when used as a noun, and I didn't get a satisfying answer on my Longman Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary, and on Google. So I wonder if there exists some nouns meaning the emotional effect in English?

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    Can you give us a sentence where you would want to use this word? This is a requirement on this site for single-word requests (and it definitely helps people to come up with better answers). Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 11:55
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    The impact of the TV report was felt by many. Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 12:09
  • @WeatherVane Yes, but it rather means a particular way of doing something not an impact.
    – fev
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 13:04
  • 'Touch' is used sparingly in this way, usually in religious, especially Christian, circles: '... I felt the gentle touch of God. And I heard His whisper, You're stronger now...' (Nikki Rosen; More Famous Quotes) Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 15:36
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    Since it's emotional, everybody's perceptions will vary widely. Since it's not specific (what kind of touch? good or bad?) they will vary even more widely. So the verb in its metaphoric use essentially means "had an emotional effect on" and that's all it means. What kind of noun can you make out of that? Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


here are some ballpark nouns that came to mind:

a stir/ a stirring

a tickle

a rise/ a rising

none are as all-purpose as touch but I think rise/rising comes close—- a sensation coming to form. Ooh actually how about:

a sensation

  • an indefinite bodily feeling
  • something (such as a physical stimulus, sense-datum, or afterimage) that causes or is the object of sensation
  • a state of excited interest/feeling or a cause of such excitement

(excite as in - to rouse an emotional response)

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    An answer should be limited to an answer. Providing a list of possibilities makes it impossible to gauge the quality of the answer. It makes it difficult to know what people agree or disagree with. Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 18:41
  • Your suggestions are enough to express the feeling generally, but "touch", by definition, usually causes someone to feel sympathetic or sad. Is it possible that there are a noun that exactly refers to such feelings?
    – Leonel Hou
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 7:04

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