Please help - looking for a word


A Traditional Eccentric!
Feb 16, 2013
In Existence Somewhere
I was wondering if you could help me find a particular word...

We have bandwidth to describe the frequency range we hear and spectrum to describe the range of colours we see, but was the equivalent for the range of touch?

Many thanks in anticipation... I hope...
I don't think there is a specific word, since what we can touch physically is bounded by what we can reach, so you could use a word like reach or stretch, or one with a definition of range, such as sweep, field, compass etc.

NB diapason is the range/compass of an instrument or voice, so if you wanted something that sounded technical you could have sensory-diapason.
Try "range of feeling" or "tactile range"; I think you have to invent something. Touch actually covers many things: sharpness, roughness, warmth, vibration... Maybe if you specify range of what? For example, frequency of vibrations that can be felt, temperatures that can be differentiated amongst, etc.
I would try to create a hybrid word using "sensitivity"
... so I like The Judge's option
but I would also suggest using the word "neuro" (to indicate nerves required in fingertips)
Light, Radio and sound use Spectrum and bandwidth as well as Frequency and Wavelength.
Spectrum = Full range
Bandwidth = sub set of full range in use
Frequency = vibrations or cycles per second (so can apply to touch, except the range is from many seconds to a sub second buzz)
Wavelength = (velocity of the signal in the medium)/(frequency), so again can apply to touch.
Sensitivity applies to touch, Light, radio and sound = weakest or smallest detectable change.
Overload = for touch and Sound is the point where more signal can't be differentiated, it's just worst pain. Or for Electronics (vibration, sound, radio or light) the largest electrical output. For Vision, the brightest light.
Dynamic Range applies to touch, Light, radio and sound = ratio (usually on a log scale) of strongest / weakest

Touch/vibration can be measured exactly, electronically with a suitable lever and a strain gauge, to greater sensitivity, dynamic range, spectrum and bandwidth than human touch.

Just substitute touch or tactile in any description instead of sound, Radio or light. Spectrum, Bandwidth, frequency, sensitivity, overload and dynamic range all mean the same.

You would have to first define what aspect of touch you're trying to describe? I mean is it hardness or resistance to pressure? Sharpness versus smoothness - a specific aspect of the above? Temperature? And then since there is no word I'd go with description and simile etc.

EG, the object was completely unyielding to his touch.

Cheers, Greg.
Wow! What a wide range of suggestions, thank you The Judge, Wiglaf, FibonacciEddie, psychotick and Tinkerdan.

It certain confirmed by instinct that there was no single word to describe what I wanted. I loved the idea of somatosensory, but very few people reading the story would know what it meant.

Pschotick - it's actually a combination of touch factors: vibration, pressure and heat - hence me looking for the collective term in the first place.

So I'll think I might go for touch palate (cross referencing to taste, which has a similar multi-factor sensing), though I haven't finally decided yet.

Again, thank you all for your time and effort.
For what it's worth, I like the sound of combining a couple of thoughts people had above.

"Tactile sweep", it's both got the technical term for touch AND the more emotive 'sweep' that makes it sound like it's a physical sensation.

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