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[taws, tos] /tɔs, tɒs/
verb (used with object), tossed or (Literary) tost; tossing.
to throw, pitch, or fling, especially to throw lightly or carelessly:
to toss a piece of paper into the wastebasket.
to throw or send from one to another, as in play:
to toss a ball.
to throw or pitch with irregular or careless motions; fling or jerk about:
The ship was tossed by waves.
to agitate, disturb, or disquiet.
to throw, raise, or jerk upward suddenly:
She tossed her head disdainfully.
to speak or express in a sudden offhand manner; interject:
He tossed jokes into their serious discussion.
to throw (a coin) into the air in order to decide something by the side turned up when it falls (sometimes followed by up).
to toss a coin with (someone).
to stir or mix (a salad) lightly until the ingredients are coated with the dressing.
verb (used without object), tossed or (Literary) tost; tossing.
to pitch, rock, sway, or move irregularly, as a ship on a rough sea or a flag or plumes in the breeze.
to fling or jerk oneself or move restlessly about, especially on a bed or couch:
to toss in one's sleep.
to throw something.
to throw a coin into the air in order to decide something by the way it falls (sometimes followed by up).
to go with a fling of the body:
to toss out of a room in a fit of anger.
an act or instance of tossing.
a pitching about or up and down.
a throw or pitch.
tossup (def 1).
the distance to which something is or may be thrown.
a sudden fling or jerk of the body, especially a quick upward or backward movement of the head.
Verb phrases
toss off,
  1. to accomplish quickly or easily.
  2. to consume rapidly, especially to drink something up in one swallow:
    He tossed off a cocktail before dinner.
  3. British Slang. to masturbate.
toss up, Informal. to vomit.
toss one's cookies, Slang. cookie (def 6).
1595-1605; origin uncertain
Related forms
tosser, noun
tossingly, adverb
untossed, adjective
1. See throw. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for toss
  • toss them in your reusable shopping bag and head to the market.
  • Once the water boils toss in a head or half head of cauliflower carefully cut into florets.
  • When it comes down to it, it's really the consumers job to determine when to toss food.
  • Apparently they've learned that the bread people toss to ducks and other waterfowl also attracts fish.
  • Everyone then takes one step back and returns the toss.
  • And sometimes, when they start coming, you toss them a marshmallow.
  • Plastic identification codes, also known as resin codes, help you figure out which bottles to toss into recycling collection bins.
  • Its job is to store only the important stuff and toss out what isn't useful.
  • Offices and public spaces make it increasingly easy to toss a newspaper or magazine you're done reading into a recycling bin.
  • Before you toss out clothing that is stained, doesn't fit or has gone out of style, consider ways to give it a new function.
British Dictionary definitions for toss


(transitive) to throw lightly or with a flourish, esp with the palm of the hand upwards
to fling or be flung about, esp constantly or regularly in an agitated or violent way: a ship tosses in a storm
to discuss or put forward for discussion in an informal way
(transitive) (of an animal such as a horse) to throw (its rider)
(transitive) (of an animal) to butt with the head or the horns and throw into the air: the bull tossed the matador
(transitive) to shake, agitate, or disturb
to toss up a coin with (someone) in order to decide or allot something: I'll toss you for it, let's toss for it
(intransitive) to move away angrily or impatiently: she tossed out of the room
an abrupt movement
a rolling or pitching motion
the act or an instance of tossing
the act of tossing up a coin See toss up (sense 1)
a fall from a horse or other animal
argue the toss, to wrangle or dispute at length
(slang) give a toss, to be concerned or interested (esp in the phrase not give a toss)
Word Origin
C16: of Scandinavian origin; related to Norwegian, Swedish tossa to strew
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for toss

c.1500, possibly from a Scandinavian source (cf. dialectal Norwegian tossa "to strew, spread"). Related: Tossed; tossing. Food preparation sense (with reference to salad, etc.) is recorded from 1723. The noun meaning "an act of throwing" is first recorded 1650s. Tosspot "heavy drinker" is from 1560s. Toss-up "even matter" first recorded 1809, from earlier sense of "a flipping of a coin to arrive at a decision" (c.1700). Tosser as a term of contempt in British slang is recorded from 1977, probably from slang toss off "masturbate" (1969); cf. jerk (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for toss


  1. To search, esp a person for weapons, drugs, etc; shake down: How do you think Leo will react to getting tossed in the apartment? (1939+)
  2. To determine by throwing up a coin for ''heads or tails'': I'll toss you for the drinks (1833+)
  3. To vomit: tossed after drinking so much
  4. To throw something away: tossed those old paperbacks
  5. To drink some liquor; take a drink: tossed a beer and got back to work
Related Terms


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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toss in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with toss
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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