The communication process between sender and receiver today has almost infinite possibilities for the exchange of information of all kinds, and one of these communicational elements of great value in this multidirectional process is idiomatic expressions.
A phrase widely used is “Lose your touch”. This expression is used to refer to someone who has lost or deteriorated their ability to perform some activity that they previously performed with great efficiency. It is a phrase that has a negative connotation towards the subject to whom it is directed.
There are more than 25,000 idioms registered in the English language in the different academies of language and literature, this can give us a pretty clear idea of the great immensity of idiomatic expressions that can be found inserted in the daily conversations of people, which is why it is so valuable to know and understand them in a genuine way so that the communication process that is dynamic, continuous and uninterrupted can fulfill its mission of conducting messages back and forth in a successful way.
The phrase to be analyzed on this occasion promotes an idea that could not be understood literally simply by knowing the meaning of each of its words, only by understanding the underlying figurative meaning in its etymological origin can its definition make sense and thus incorporate its use in the conversations that take place on a regular basis.
The Origin Of The Phrase “Lose Your Touch”
Before we refer to the birth of the phrase “Lose your touch”, it is worth doing a little history in relation to the importance that idiomatic expressions have for today’s society. Many of the idiomatic expressions used today were expressed literally in their original use, that is, they were created to express the literal meaning of each of their words, however, it happened sometimes that this literal meaning evolved and made the phrase end up moving away from its roots. But there were also other types of phrases that from their creation were designed to be completely figurative.
Idiomatic expressions or idioms, being etymologically created by ordinary people, go totally against the so-called linguistic compositionality. The principle of compositionality indicates that the meaning of the whole begins by understanding the meaning of each of its parts, i.e., according to this principle, in order to understand a sentence it would be enough to understand the individual meaning of each of the words that make it up. Transferring this concept of compositionality to the multiple existing idiomatic expressions we can verify that this linguistic principle is not fulfilled at all, being totally relieved in the application of its laws when it comes to idioms.
Idiomatic expressions are so irreverent to the rules established by formal communication that we can find idioms that can be modified in their compositional structure without losing their meaning, but this only happens when the phrase is widely known by both the sender and the receiver.
The accurate interpretation of idioms can be affected basically by 3 factors:
- Familiarity. Familiarity is nothing more than the frequency with which an idiom is used in people’s daily lives. This means that an idiom that is frequently used is more likely to be correctly understood by a majority of people than one that is less frequently used.
- Transparency. Communicative transparency refers to the literalness of the idiom. What this aspect tries to explain is that there are different types of idioms, those that are totally literal, those that are a mixture between literal and figurative, and those that are completely figurative. After many years of studies, it has been proven that people respond more quickly to literal idioms and too literal with figurative idioms than to those that are only figurative.
- Context. The context of the use of an idiom is a kind of thermometer to measure how well a given expression is understood. The best way to explain this factor is through a concrete example. Several studies have shown that in conversations with children, the use of context is essential to introduce idiomatic expressions in order to make them easier and more accurate to understand. If the context had not been used, children would have interpreted the idiom in a completely different way. Adults, on the other hand, are not affected by the absence of context to understand an idiomatic phrase, unlike children, who are more affected by the absence of the familiarity factor.
Speaking specifically of the expression “Lose your touch” it must be said that there is practically no truthful documentation to support its date of origin or the reasons that caused its creation in popular culture. The only detected reference that is not based at all on reliable or verifiable sources, since it comes only from rumors that have passed from mouth to mouth and that should be taken more as fanciful stories than as true facts, is a very diffuse version that places this phrase at the end of the Second World War. By that time the American bomber pilots were assigned to top-secret missions related to making flights over the enemy front, however, they had learned that they were being spied by the enemy who had intervened all their means of communication, this made them devise communication systems with encrypted messages to be able to send crucial information to their superiors. Among these encrypted phrases was “Lose your touch” or “Lose the touch” to indicate in some cases that they had taken off from the base and in other cases, it meant that they had missed the target. Over the years the phrase evolved into an expression meaning to lose the ability to do something that was previously perfectly executed, however, this original data is not at all reliable or verifiable.
This scarce capacity to verify the veracity of the origins of idiomatic expressions is, unfortunately, a common factor to be found every time the history of these phrases is analyzed in-depth, and this is mainly attributed to the fact that being expressions created by common people who are members of a social collective, no formal records are ever kept to document the supposed facts that trigger these creations, leaving as the only available source for consultation the imprecise anecdotes that have passed from generation to generation.
How People Use The Phrase “Lose Your Touch”
We have already understood the main meaning of this idiomatic phrase, however, there are other uses that can be given to this expression beyond its main meaning.
- To express that one is no longer skilled to perform a specific task
- To express that one has lost the ability to handle a person or a situation
- To express that someone is not at his or her best
- To express boredom or discouragement towards a task or situation
- To express that someone has fallen behind in the handling of information
- To express annoyance at someone’s poor performance
- To express that someone has lost his or her ability to understand others
- To express that someone has lost his or her charisma
- To indicate that someone has become less than humble
- To indicate that someone has lost their style
- To indicate that someone has ceased to be successful
- To indicate when someone or something has lost its differentiation
- To express that someone has decreased their efficiency
- To express that someone is acting negatively in a premeditated manner
- To express a feeling of discouragement and demotivation
- To express an irreverent attitude towards certain situations
- To express apathy
- To express an attitude of complaint or complaint
- To express the decadence of someone or something
- To express when a dish has deteriorated
- To express a negative opinion towards an athlete in relation to his or her performance
- To express a negative opinion towards an artist or singer in relation to his or her performance
- To express disappointment or disillusionment towards something or someone
- To indicate that one will not return to a certain place or event
- To indicate a judgment towards someone or something
- To indicate a justification of behavior contrasted with another contrary action
- To terminate an employment relationship
- To express a competitive argument of a person towards another person
- To establish comparisons between people’s performance
- To substantiate a complex decision
- To establish points of improvement
Examples Of The Use Of The Phrase “Lose Your Touch” In Everyday Sentences
We have already reviewed everything related to this particular phrase, we have reviewed its meaning, its origin, its different meanings in everyday life and finally we will see below some concrete examples of its use in common sentences.
- He used to be my favorite basketball player, but I think he has lost his touch over the years.
- She seems to have lost her touch with the children, she doesn’t have the same patience as when I first met her a few years ago after she was my favorite basketball player.
- I can’t play the guitar the same way anymore, after the accident I have lost my touch, I hope it’s only temporary.
Other English Idioms
Idiomatic expressions are another way of adapting and understanding the idiosyncrasy of a country or geographical area in its proper measure. It is another way of cultural integration that contributes to understanding the roots of a society, its concerns, its needs, its anecdotes and stories, and its linguistic connection with the outside world. History has proven the value of these phrases, and thanks to the will of the people they have ended up becoming part of the regular vocabulary that is effectively used in today’s communications.
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He’s one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don’t even want to know what he calls pancakes.