Definition of toss in English:

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Pronunciation: /tɒs/


1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Throw (something) somewhere lightly or casually: Suzy tossed her bag on to 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.
throw, hurl, cast, fling, sling, pitch, shy, lob, propel, launch, project, send, dash, bowl
informal heave, chuck, bung
1.1 [with object] (Of a horse) throw (a rider) off its back.
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.
1.2 [with object] Throw (a coin) into the air in order to make a decision between two alternatives, based on which side of the coin faces uppermost when it lands: we could just toss a coin [no object]: he tossed up between courgettes and tomatoes and courgettes won
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, spin, twist
1.3 [with object] Settle a matter with (someone) by tossing a coin: I’ll toss you for it
2Move or cause to move from side to side or back and forth: [no object]: the trees tossed in the wind [with object]: the yachts were tossed around like toys in the harbour (as adjective, in combination -tossed) tempest-tossed and shipwrecked mariners
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.
flail, thrash about, roll, tumble;
jerk, twitch, wriggle, writhe, squirm
lurch, reel, list, keel, veer, labour, flounder, plunge, rock, roll, sway, undulate, pitch, heave, wallow, make heavy weather;
Nautical  pitchpole
2.1 [with object] Jerk (one’s head or hair) sharply backwards: Paula pursed her lips and tossed her head she stood up, tossing her hair out of her eyes
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.
throw back, jerk, jolt
2.2 [with object] Shake 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, churn, mix, combine
3 [with object] North American informal Search (a place): I could demand her keys and toss her office


1An act 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.
jerk, jolt, throw;
cast, fling, hurl, heave, delivery, lob
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: Somerset won the toss and chose to bat
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.



give (or care) a toss

[usually with negative] British informal Care at all: I don’t give a toss what you think
More example sentences
  • Not that Lewisham council appears to give a toss about Catford, mind…
  • For the first time, women are now edging towards the possibility of not giving a toss how popular a moisturiser might be, and of leading lives which have neither time nor need for cuticle remover.
  • This is, of course, because the council stopped giving a toss at some point in the 1980s, and the place has teetered on the brink of closure ever since.

take a toss

Fall off a horse: I took a heavy toss when my horse fell
More example sentences
  • And I remember him taking a toss, which would have killed any ordinary man, when riding after a pig at the Stud Farm at Saharunpur.
  • The recent showers that lashed the city saw several bike riders taking a toss and four-wheelers skidding out of control.
  • Not knowing how to negotiate the lip of the dune, I took a toss and landed in the soft sand.

toss one's cookies

North American informal Vomit.
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.

toss it in

Australian /NZ informal Finish or give up: by the end of my first year I was ready to toss it in
More example sentences
  • Does your family ask, "Hey, when are you going to toss it in, one more jump and that's it?"
  • It may well be there is no tougher Australian athlete, and yet she admits there were times she almost tossed it in.
  • This legislation could see that person having to spend thousands of dollars on equipment, and that might be just enough to tip the balance between that person having a viable business and tossing it in.

toss a pancake

Turn a pancake by flipping it into the air so that it lands in the pan on its opposite side.
Example sentences
  • A number of North-west teams - including Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers and Oldham Athletic - entered the contest to race across a 200 metre course tossing a pancake as they ran.
  • l Pupils at St Mary's Primary School also celebrated Shrove Tuesday in traditional style, negotiating an obstacle course while tossing a pancake.
  • Any excuse for a party, so long as I don't have to toss a pancake or kiss a church bell ringer.

Phrasal verbs


toss something off

Produce 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.
1.1Drink 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.
drink (up/down), quaff, swallow, gulp (down), drain, put away, guzzle, sup, sip, finish off
informal down, swill, swig, slug, sink, kill, polish off, knock back
British informal neck
North American informal scarf (down/up), snarf (down/up), chug
rare ingurgitate, bib

toss someone/oneself off (or toss off)

British vulgar slang Masturbate.


Early 16th century: of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with toss

across, boss, Bros, cos, cross, crosse, doss, dross, emboss, en brosse, floss, fosse, gloss, Goss, joss, Kos, lacrosse, loss, moss, MS-DOS, Ross

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: toss

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