1610s, "perceptible to touch," from French tactile (16c.) and directly from Latin tactilis "tangible, that may be touched," from tactus, past participle of tangere "to touch," from PIE root *tag- "to touch, handle." Meaning "of or pertaining to the sense of touch" is attested from 1650s. Related: Tactility.
updated on April 19, 2017