Touchscreens are unyielding and make no sound. Perhaps we could come up with a better term for pressing a button than "clicking" it? I have heard the phrase "button press" used, and "keypress" has a long history also. Is there an even better alternative?

(Eventually, someone will ask why we refer to phones as "ringing"...)

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    the click event for touch devices is "tap".
    – Alvaro
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 17:29
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    AFAIK browsers respond to both click and tap on touch devices. Chrome, however, is moving towards Pointer events to include them all in the same event.
    – Alvaro
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 17:33
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    It seems like a catch all might just be describing them as "interactions". Then you could break it down into spoken interactions, pointer, tap, etc... Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 20:13
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    That's an interesting question. Upon looking up the etymology, it seems that at least some, largely for butt in proto-germanic and old english, is still quite applicable even to digital non-skeumorphic buttons. It refers to stuff like "goal, mark, piece, and small piece of land". It would seem to be an example of a word still appropriately near its original contexts rather than ones that have drifted like your example of ringing or save icons still having floppy disc icons. Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 21:16
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    In real life, you "press" a button.
    – tripleee
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 5:29

2 Answers 2


Tap is what you should call it.


"Click on" is still the standard term.

It long ago lost any connection with any clicking sound that some physical buttons made, and should be understood as shorthand for "superimpose the picture of the arrowhead controlled by your pointing device on the picture of the button on the screen and briefly press the button on your pointing device".

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