What Does “Touch Base” Mean?

Let’s discuss the meaning and original of “touch base.” Colloquial idioms can be extremely difficult for native English speakers and English learners. They are confusing to use with a grammar context, and they people often don’t know what they mean.

In the case of “touch base,” most people are comfortable using it and understand its general meaning. However, if you were to ask a native English speaker how “touch base” originated, most would be at a loss for words.

What Does “Touch Base” Mean?

In its everyday usage, “touch base” is a way to say that you made contact with someone or something that was needed. In most cases, it has a positive connotation, and you can use it to show that you have “checked all the boxes,” so to speak when referring to a specific task.

For instance, in business contexts, people often use touch base to describe when they have connected with a colleague.

When used specifically as business jargon, the phrase touch base can be used to describes interactions such as:

  • speaking face-to-face with coworkers.
  • making sure there are open lines of communication with coworkers.
  • Making a phone call.
  • Creating a follow-up email.
  • Having a friendly chat with someone.
  • Tracking progress on an ongoing project

How Did “Touch Base” Originate?

In reality, the common phrase originated from a classic 20th century American sport. As you can probably guess, the sport in question that inspired the saying is American baseball!

In baseball, a runner must travel all to way to home base in order to score a run. Although this phrase isn’t specific to baseball players anymore, it is probably clear that it originated in their sport.

With all of this in mind, it should now be clear what touch base means.

In summary, the phrase really is only used by Americans who use American English.

Examples Using “Touch Base”

  • Don’t worry about that. I will touch base with the marketing team so that everything will be organized!
  • I made sure to touch base with Elizabeth before we gave our big presentation.
  • I was advised that it would be best to touch base with my advisor to schedule classes.
  • I made sure to touch base with the contractors on LinkedIn.
  • My old friends tried to touch base with me earlier so that our kids could have a play date!
  • I have a brief phone-call with my mom on Sunday to make plans for next month.I guess you could say we touched base.

Other common expressions: First Come, First Serve

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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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