9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[toi] /tɔɪ/
an object, often a small representation of something familiar, as an animal or person, for children or others to play with; plaything.
a thing or matter of little or no value or importance; a trifle.
something that serves for or as if for diversion, rather than for serious practical use.
a small article of little value but prized as a souvenir or for some other special reason; trinket; knickknack; bauble.
something diminutive, especially in comparison with like objects.
an animal of a breed or variety noted for smallness of size:
The winning terrier at the dog show was a toy.
a close-fitting cap of linen or wool, with flaps coming down to the shoulders, formerly worn by women in Scotland.
a simple, light piece of music, especially of 16th or 17th century England, written for the virginal.
  1. amorous dallying.
  2. a playful or amusing act; diversion; pastime.
made or designed for use as a toy:
a toy gun.
of or resembling a toy, especially diminutive in size.
verb (used without object)
to amuse oneself; play.
to act idly; or with indifference; trifle:
to toy with one's food.
to dally amorously; flirt.
Origin of toy
1275-1325; Middle English toye dalliance; of obscure origin
Related forms
toyer, noun
toyless, adjective
toylike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for toys
  • What she has in mind is a big tent, one that doesn't exclude fancy toys or snappy musical productions.
  • Probably some jewelry in there, certainly scissors and maybe some wind-up toys.
  • Or have your kids or grandkids use it to build toys they designed themselves.
  • The pink fad spread from sleepers and crib sheets to big-ticket items such as strollers, car seats and riding toys.
  • Claims that the new technological toys are less compelling and less interactive than their humble forebears.
  • They aren't toys or playhouses or aesthetic gestures, and they aren't shacks or cottages, either.
  • Surprisingly, toddlers speak in more complex sentences when alone in their crib chatting with their stuffed toys.
  • The researchers regularly re-arranged the toys in their cages and placed novel objects in them.
  • Billy had been busy playing with his toys in his bedroom before deciding to go outside to play.
  • Everyone gets a basic allotment and too bad about energy-gobbling, non-essential toys for the rich.
British Dictionary definitions for toys


an object designed to be played with
  1. something that is a nonfunctioning replica of something else, esp a miniature one
  2. (as modifier): a toy guitar
any small thing of little value; trifle
  1. something small or miniature, esp a miniature variety of a breed of dog
  2. (as modifier): a toy poodle
(intransitive) usually foll by with. to play, fiddle, or flirt
Derived Forms
toyer, noun
toyless, adjective
toylike, adjective
Word Origin
C16 (in the sense: amorous dalliance): of uncertain origin
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 toys



c.1300, "amorous playing, sport," later "piece of fun or entertainment" (c.1500), "thing of little value, trifle" (1520s), and "thing for a child to play with" (1580s). Of uncertain origin, and there may be more than one word here. Cf. Middle Dutch toy, Dutch tuig "tools, apparatus, stuff, trash," in speeltuig "play-toy, plaything;" German Zeug "stuff, matter, tools," Spielzeug "plaything, toy;" Danish tøi, Swedish tyg "stuff, gear."


1520s, from toy (n.).

If he be merie and toy with any,
His wife will frowne, and words geve manye.
["Song of the Bachelor's Life," 16c.]
Related: Toyed; toying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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