Skip to main content


feel / fēl/ • v. (past felt / felt/ ) [tr.] 1. be aware of (a person or object) through touching or being touched: she felt someone touch her shoulder. ∎  be aware of (something happening) through physical sensation: she felt the ground give way beneath her. ∎  examine or search by touch: he felt her hair [intr.] he felt around for the matches. ∎  [intr.] be capable of sensation. ∎  [intr.] give a sensation of a particular physical quality when touched: the wool feels soft. ∎  (feel one's way) find one's way by touch rather than sight: she plunged into the dark tunnel, feeling her way along the walls. ∎  (feel one's way) fig. act cautiously, esp. in an area with which one is unfamiliar: she was new in the job, still feeling her way. ∎  (feel something out) inf. investigate something cautiously: they want to feel out the situation. 2. experience (an emotion or sensation): I felt a sense of excitement [intr.] I felt angry and humiliated. ∎  [intr.] consider oneself to be in a particular state or exhibiting particular qualities: he doesn't feel obliged to visit every weekend. ∎  (feel up to) have the strength and energy to do or deal with: she didn't feel up to driving. ∎  (feel oneself) be healthy and well: Ruth was not quite feeling herself. ∎  be emotionally affected by: he didn't feel the loss of his mother so keenly. ∎  [intr.] have a specified reaction or attitude, esp. an emotional one, toward something: we feel very strongly about freedom of expression. ∎  (feel for) have compassion for: poor woman—I feel for her. 3. have a belief or impression, esp. without an identifiable reason: she felt that the woman positively disliked her. ∎  hold an opinion: I felt I could make a useful contribution. • n. [usu. in sing.] 1. an act of touching something to examine it. ∎  the sense of touch: he worked by feel rather than using his eyes. 2. a sensation given by an object or material when touched: nylon cloth with a cotton feel. ∎  the impression given by something: the restaurant has a modern bistro feel. PHRASES: feel free (to do something) have no hesitation or shyness (often used as an invitation or for reassurance): feel free to say what you like. feel like (doing) something be inclined to have or do: I feel like celebrating. get a (or the) feel for (or of) familiarize oneself with: you can explore to get a feel of the place. have a feel for have a sensitive appreciation or an intuitive understanding of: you have to have a feel for animals. make oneself (or one's presence) felt make people keenly aware of one; have a noticeable effect: the economic crisis began to make itself felt.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"feel." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . 24 Feb. 2019 <>.

"feel." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . (February 24, 2019).

"feel." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved February 24, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.