Tocar Meaning | Tocar can mean many things!


The Spanish verb tocar has multiple meanings. We generally use the verb tocar to mean ‘to touch,’ but it has a number of other meanings as well. Tocar is a very versatile verb with a variety of uses. Here are some examples to illustrate some of the most common ways that tocar is used in Spanish.

Tocar = To Touch

Favor de no tocar la pared, la pintura está fresca.
Please don’t touch the wall, the paint is wet.

Tocar meaning: Starting off with the basics, the verb tocar often means “to touch.”

Tocar = To feel

Toca el agua, ¿está fría?
Feel the water, is it cold?

Synonymous with “touch,” tocar also commonly gets translated as “to feel.”

tocar = to play an instrument

Mi hermana sabe tocar el piano.
My sister knows how to play the piano.

The verb jugar refers to playing with a toy or playing a sport, but tocar is used when talking about playing an instrument.

tocar = to play a song

Te voy a tocar mi canción favorita.
I’m going to play you my favorite song.

Tocar is also used when referring to playing a song or album.

tocar = to perform
tocar en vivo

Los vi tocar en vivo en Nueva York.
I saw them perform live in New York.

Continuing with the music theme, we can use the verb tocar whenever referring to playing or performing music. Tocar en vivo means to play live.

tocar = to honk
tocar el claxon

Todo el mundo estaba tocando el claxon.
Everyone was honking their horn.

If we’re talking about honking or hitting the horn of a car, we use the verb tocar.

tocar = to knock
tocar meaning

Alguien está tocando la puerta.
Someone is knocking at the door.

Tocar is the verb we use to say “knocking” on a door.

tocar = to ring
tocar meaning

No toqué la puerta, toqué el timbre.
I didn’t knock on the door, I rang the doorbell.

In Spanish, we use the verb tocar to mean both knock on the door and ring the doorbell.

tocar = to get, have or experience
tocar meaning english

Ayer nos tocó un poco de lluvia.
Yesterday we got some rain.

For many students, this is one of the more challenging translations of tocar. It’s a very common use of the verb and can be tricky to understand. We have an extended audio lesson on the verb tocar in the Border Crossing episode in season 2 of our podcast episodes.

Tocar = To get, have or experience

Me tocó un poco de trafico de camino para acá.
I hit a bit of traffic on the way here.

This is another example of how tocar can mean “get,” as in “to get stuck in traffic.” In contexts like this tocar can express the action of having to experience something without having much choice in the matter, like bad weather, traffic, etc.

Tocar = to be your turn
tocar lesson

¿A quién le toca?
Who’s turn is it?

We can use the verb tocar if we want ask who’s turn it is. (When it’s your turn you can say, “¡Me toca a mí!”)

Tocar = to be your turn
tocar spanish

Le toca a ella, llegó antes que yo.
It’s her turn, she was here before me.

Tocar meaning: Here we’re showing you another construction of how to use tocar to refer to someone’s turn. (You can also say it like “es su turno/it’s her turn.”)

tocar = to be up to you

Ahora les toca a ellos que todo salga bien.
Now it’s up to them to make sure everything turns out ok.

Tocar meaning: Similar to being someone’s turn, we can use the verb tocar when we want to express the idea of something “being up to” one person or another.

tocar = to talk about/deal with/address

Hoy no tocaré ese asunto.
I’m not going to address (or talk about) that subject today.

Finally, you may hear people use tocar in this context as well, it’s used to refer to “touching on/addressing/or talking about” a certain subject.

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Tocar can mean a lot of different things, it all depends on context. 

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