I am looking for the word that describes a very gentle and light touch back and forth (it can be in any part of the body) that causes to very pleasure sensation feeling to most or many people (not all the people like it) since it influences on the hormonal system of the body. Is the word "pat" the word that I'm looking for?

For example:

She loves when I'm (patting?) her.

Would you mind to (pat?) me?

  • Can you give an example of a sentence using the "comfortable" tickle. Pat means something different from tickle, yet it might be the word you want.
    – James K
    Jun 2, 2018 at 19:06
  • Describe the movement of the fingers and the hand. That sentence doesn't clarify your request.
    – Em.
    Jun 2, 2018 at 19:36
  • 2
    You might look into the word caress.
    – J.R.
    Jun 2, 2018 at 21:14
  • 1
    Mind doesn't take to.
    – Lambie
    Jun 2, 2018 at 21:27
  • 2
    The question still doesn't offer enough clarification. What is the reaction to the action supposed to be? In my mind, caress is the most appropriate. I can see how tickle could be—but only if you intend for the recipient to laugh (or be uncomfortable) . . . Jun 3, 2018 at 3:38

1 Answer 1


Tickle is used for two sensations.

The first is the very light touch, for example with a feather, or from an insect walking on your skin. This is nearly always uncomfortable, and doesn't make you laugh. It is possible to give yourself this sensation.

The second is a heavier touch, usually with fingers. This does make you laugh, and may be enjoyable depending on the context. We might tickle our children or a lover to make them laugh, but too much tickling can be torture. It is generally impossible to create this sensation in yourself.

Tickle can refer to both these sensations. There are two very technical words for these, but I'd never heard these words before researching this answer, so they cannot be used except in a research paper in psychology.

Pat mean to gently tap with your open palm. Stroke means to rub gently with your hands. Typically you pat a dog, but stroke a cat. Neither act would be described as tickling.

Caress is a gentle and loving embrace, touch or stroke. You caress a lover's body, or a mother could caress her baby's cheek.

  • Can you explain please what is the difference between caress, pat, stroke when talking about human beings? If my GF wants me to move my hands gently on her hands back and forth since she loves it, is it called pat, stroke or caress? As British English speaker What would you choose that every body will understand you? In the meantime I found this article: wikihow.com/Caress Jun 3, 2018 at 1:20
  • Please check in a dictionary. The meaning and difference between these words can be understood from their dictionary definitions.
    – James K
    Jun 3, 2018 at 6:37
  • Based on the article of caress in the dictionary it seems that the word that I looked for is this one: "Caress - an act of moving one's hand across a surface with gentle pressure.". It seems also that stroke is a synonym exactly for this purpose and it isn't only for pets. You mentioned this word in comments but not here in your answer. Please add it to your answer so your answer may be completed and I could choose it accepted answer. Thank you very much. Nov 30, 2018 at 8:21

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