Definition of toy in English:

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Pronunciation: /toi/


1An object for a child to play with, typically a model or miniature replica of something: [as modifier]: a toy car
More example sentences
  • There will be a range of automotive toys and model cars, boats and planes for children as well as a jumping castle, clowns, face painting and a care centre
  • Everything bar the kitchen sink has to go… from cuddly toys to the cars standing on their driveway.
  • Her favourite dolls, cuddly toys and teddy bears are lined along her shelves and bed.
plaything, game;
gadget, device;
trinket, knickknack, gizmo
model, imitation, replica, fake;
1.1An object, especially a gadget or machine, regarded as providing amusement for an adult: in 1914 the car was still a rich man’s toy
More example sentences
  • The investment looked canny as the market for gadgets and toys aimed at adults keeps growing.
  • The shop has been operating for more than three months, selling lingerie, adult toys and adult magazines, none of which requires a licence.
  • But now that they've got that little one that everyone carries around, that's a bit of an adult toy, too.
1.2A person treated by another as a source of pleasure or amusement rather than with due seriousness: a man needed a friend, an ally, not an idol or a toy
More example sentences
  • Sadly the drugs rapidly tired her out and she slumped back in humiliated defeat, a toy for his pleasure.
  • Ilsa treats the inhabitants of her prison camp like toys to be played with and broken.
2 [as modifier] Denoting a diminutive breed or variety of dog: a toy poodle
More example sentences
  • Unlike the show held in April, there were not many fancy and toy breeds.
  • He was judged against a flat-coated retriever, a giant schnauzer, an Old English sheepdog, a wire fox terrier, a saluki hound and Pekingese toy dog.
  • Like so many fashions in New York, Rosenthal says the surge in demand for toy dog breeds is largely celebrity-driven.

Phrasal verbs

toy with

1Consider (an idea, movement, or proposal) casually or indecisively.
Example sentences
  • He had toyed with the idea of writing a novel about the Labor movement, with a Eugene Debs character at its center, for some time, and would continue to do so, but in the end the novel never got written.
  • At any rate, I was considering the whole blogging thing and was toying with the idea of just quitting altogether, packing it up and saying ‘Adios Amigos!’
  • She had also toyed with the idea of being a chicken farmer but considered the risks too high.
think about, consider, flirt with, entertain the possibility of;
kick around
1.1Treat (someone) without due seriousness, especially in a superficially amorous way.
Example sentences
  • Life is good, but seriously Bill, you're way too easy to toy with.
  • As a pretty girl from a respectable family, she toys with her beaux - little boys who must play the love game by her rules.
  • I don't know, Mitch, what the psychiatrists or psychologists on our panel are going to say, but others today have been saying that he is toying with us.
trifle with, play with, play havoc with, amuse oneself with, mess with, be flippant with
2Move or handle (an object) absentmindedly or nervously.
Example sentences
  • Her fingers toyed absently with the handle of the mug of ale before her.
  • ‘Justin,’ I answered, toying nervously with the ends of my hideous plaid, pleated skirt.
  • But turn I did, rolling over slowly to face the girl standing in the doorway, toying nervously with her sleeve.
fiddle with, play with, fidget with, twiddle;
2.1Eat or drink in an unenthusiastic or restrained way.
Example sentences
  • She was toying with the drink Susan had supplied, and she was quite upset.
  • I also believed it because he liked to eat, and I liked to cook, and he frequently came to dinner and ate a lot, but the last few times he just sort toyed with the food.
nibble, pick at, peck at, eat listlessly, eat like a bird



Pronunciation: /-ˌlīk/
Example sentences
  • Cell phones are toylike, nearly magic, and we get a huge kick out of them, as often happens with technological advances until the new wears off.
  • On each of the five vertical sections that made up the image, silhouetted shapes, colored geometric forms, flowers, furniture, twigs, toylike figures and indistinct shadows floated aimlessly through a viscous, horizonless space.
  • Considering the toylike quality of the car's aluminum frame clad in plastic panels, one hopes that the lights' purported safety function is worth the research-and-development dollars.


Late Middle English: of unknown origin. The word originally denoted a funny story or remark, later an antic or trick, or a frivolous entertainment. The verb dates from the early 16th century.

  • A toy was originally a funny story or remark, and later a prank, trick, or frivolous entertainment. The usual modern sense, of an object for a child to play with, dates from the late 16th century. Older women had taken up with younger men before the 1980s, but it took until then for the rhyming toy boy to appear. The origin of toy, like that of boy, is medieval but otherwise unknown.

Words that rhyme with toy

ahoy, alloy, Amoy, annoy, boy, buoy, cloy, coy, destroy, employ, enjoy, Hanoi, hoi polloi, hoy, Illinois, joy, koi, oi, ploy, poi, Roy, savoy, soy, tatsoi, trompe l'œil, troy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: toy

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