Definition of toss in English:


Syllabification: toss
Pronunciation: /tôs, täs


  • 1 [with object] Throw (something) somewhere lightly, easily, or casually: Suzy tossed her bag onto the sofa [with two objects]: she tossed me a box of matches
    More example sentences
    • I reached home and casually tossed the baggie onto a table.
    • Jonnie shuts the phone and casually tosses it onto the dresser.
    • The doctor slumps back in his chair, and casually tosses his glasses onto the paper-stacked desk.
  • 1.1(Of a horse) throw (a rider) off its back.
    More example sentences
    • Diving into the nearby meadow, she could do nothing but glance up in horror as the horse reared and tossed its rider onto a grassy patch beside her.
    • My three year old stud colt had tossed me right in the middle of the arena.
    • Zimmerman was tossed to the ground and was hit slightly by a passing horse when he attempted to get to the inside rail.
  • 1.2Throw (a coin) into the air in order to make a decision between two alternatives, based on which side of the coin faces up when it lands: we could just toss a coin
    More example sentences
    • It was a try - I never put my foot in touch - but the linesman was tossing the coin for decisions all game so I didn't know what he'd say.
    • Archie is an indecisive Englishman who can only make a decision after tossing a coin.
    • If you were a quantum mechanic tossing a coin, it would land on the table, but no particular side would be facing up until you looked at it.
    flip, flick
  • 1.3Settle a matter with (someone) by doing this: I’ll toss you for it
  • 1.4Move or cause to move from side to side or back and forth: [no object]: the tops of the olive trees swayed and tossed [with object]: the yachts were tossed around in the harbor like toys [as adjectivein combination]: (-tossed) wind-tossed lakes
    More example sentences
    • I could tell his leg was broken by the way it didn't move with the rest of him as he tossed and turned, I could tell it was hurting just to do so.
    • I tossed and turned, not due to any specific problem, but in retrospect, I realize I was worried about him going to school.
    • I could not get to sleep last night, I just tossed and turned until I finally did fall asleep at about 6: 30AM.
    pitch, lurch, rock, roll, plunge, reel, list, keel, sway, wallow, flounderthrash, squirm, wriggle, writhe, fidget, turn
  • 1.5Jerk (one’s head or hair) sharply backward: Paula pursed her lips and tossed her head
    More example sentences
    • Nicole voiced in confusion, her newly blonde-streaked brown hair swishing as she tossed her head up to look at us.
    • The light breeze caught her hair and sent it flying backwards as she tossed her head.
    • She tossed her long hair backwards and gallantly stood awaiting my reaction.
  • 1.6Shake or turn (food) in a liquid, so as to coat it lightly: toss the pasta in the sauce
    More example sentences
    • Shake skillet, tossing beans to coat with oil, garlic, and breadcrumbs.
    • Later, the girls all sat down for a rather light meal consisting of chicken, curry, tossed salad, and baked potatoes.
    • Drizzle dressing over chicken mixture, tossing to coat salad ingredients evenly.
    shake, stir, turn, mix, combine
  • 2 [with object] North American informal Search (a place): I could demand her keys and toss her office


Back to top  
  • 1An action or instance of tossing something: a defiant toss of her head the toss of a coin
    More example sentences
    • Come on, this whodunit tale is quite engrossing with its frequent tosses, turns and twists.
    • He was probably sitting upright in bed, his untidy brown hair, that I teased never had seen a hair brush before, in a horrifying mess, from all the tosses and turns he made in his sleep.
    • He blocked errant pitches in the dirt, expertly framed borderline tosses, turning them into strikes and worked masterfully with pitchers.
  • 1.1 (the toss) The action of tossing a coin as a method of deciding which team has the right to make a particular decision at the beginning of a game: we’d win the toss and keep the ball
    More example sentences
    • In three of them, the team winning the toss won the games.
    • It goes without saying any team which wins the toss will choose to bat.
    • Winning the toss isn't such a blessing here - in nine games, the team losing the toss has won on seven occasions, including the last five ODIs.


toss one's cookies

North American informal Vomit.
More example sentences
  • People might want to see you drunk and having a good time but nobody wants to see you tossing your cookies into the potted plant in the corner.
  • When a number of us landlubbers became quite seasick, Victor decided it would be funny to capture the experience on film and began taking photos of his employees tossing their cookies overboard.
  • So we ended up going to this Chinese restaurant, and to cut a long story short, I wasn't even able to manage to take three mouthfuls before running to the ladies room and tossing my cookies.

tossing the caber

see caber.

Phrasal verbs

toss something off

  • 1Drink something rapidly or all at once: Roger tossed off a full glass of Sauternes
    More example sentences
    • The other was dawdling with the bottle, and Martin refused to wait for him, tossing the glass off in a gulp and refilling it.
  • 2Produce something rapidly or without thought or effort: some of the best letters are tossed off in a burst of inspiration
    More example sentences
    • Some level of effort went into making this album… it wasn't tossed off, but that's maybe more of a damnation than a praise.
    • I find it kinda funny that when I feel at my worst and post, no one seems to say anything, but when I toss something off in a mini-haze combination of tired and mildly down, everyone's there.
    • The songs - the best they have written since Some Girls in '78-sound as if they were tossed off, like rock 'n' roll is supposed to.



More example sentences
  • You may think that I am just a useless coin tosser, but actually this has some profound implications for the role of chance in our lives.
  • From the moment Vaughan won the toss - no longer a luckless tosser - England didn't look or take a step backward.
  • They filed past in groups: drummers and cymbal players, rice tossers, pot bearers, flag bearers; dressed in embroidered waistcoats, they danced as they moved, stepping left and then right and then leaning down to the ground.


early 16th century: of unknown origin.

More definitions of toss

Definition of toss in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day astrogation
Pronunciation: ˌastrəˈgāSHən
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space