\ ˈtȯs How to pronounce toss (audio) , ˈtäs\
tossed; tossing; tosses

Definition of toss

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to throw with a quick, light, or careless motion or with a sudden jerk toss a ball around
b : to throw up in the air tossed by a bull
d : to send as if by throwing tossed in jail tossed out of the game
e : to get rid of : throw away
2a : to fling or lift with a sudden motion tosses her head angrily
b : to tilt suddenly so as to empty by drinking tossed his glass also : to consume by drinking toss down a drink
3a : to fling or heave continuously about, to and fro, or up and down a ship tossed by waves
c : to mix lightly until well coated with a dressing or until the elements are thoroughly combined toss a salad
4 : to make uneasy : stir up : disturb
5 : to accomplish, provide, or produce readily or easily toss off a few verses
6 : throw sense 5 toss a party
7 : vomit sense 1 often used in the phrase toss one's cookies

intransitive verb

1a : to move restlessly or turbulently especially : to twist and turn repeatedly tossed sleeplessly all night
b : to move with a quick or spirited gesture
2 : to decide an issue by flipping a coin



Definition of toss (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of tossing: such as
a : throw, pitch
b : an abrupt tilting or upward fling
c : a deciding by chance and especially by flipping a coin
2 : the state or fact of being tossed

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from toss


tosser noun

Synonyms for toss

Synonyms: Verb

careen, lurch, pitch, rock, roll, seesaw, sway, wobble (also wabble)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for toss


throw, cast, toss, fling, hurl, pitch, sling mean to cause to move swiftly through space by a propulsive movement or a propelling force. throw is general and interchangeable with the other terms but may specifically imply a distinctive motion with bent arm. can throw a fastball and a curve cast usually implies lightness in the thing thrown and sometimes a scattering. cast it to the winds toss suggests a light or careless or aimless throwing and may imply an upward motion. tossed the coat on the bed fling stresses a violent throwing. flung the ring back in his face hurl implies power as in throwing a massive weight. hurled himself at the intruder pitch suggests throwing carefully at a target. pitch horseshoes sling stresses either the use of whirling momentum in throwing or directness of aim. slung the bag over his shoulder

Examples of toss in a Sentence


She tossed the ball high in the air. She tossed the paper at the recycling bin. He tossed his dirty socks onto the floor. He tossed his head back. She tossed her hair and smiled. Waves tossed the ship about. The ship tossed on the waves.


They decided what to do by a coin toss. the toss of a coin She threw her hair back with a toss of her head.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In a large bowl, toss asparagus, snap peas, leek, and garlic with lemon juice and oil. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Spring Vegetable Pizza," 7 Mar. 2019 According to Fox News’ 2018 Midterm Power Rankings, the race between Sinema and Republican Martha McSally is a toss-up as well. Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "Vulnerable Dems McCaskill, Sinema to attend fundraiser thrown by donor who called Trump supporters 'traitors,' 'low IQ'," 28 Sep. 2018 Last February, when SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket tossed CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster toward Mars, the event precipitated a minor planetary-protection crisis—the car had not been sterilized for an unlikely-but-possible impact with the Red Planet. Leonard David, Scientific American, "As Space Becomes a Busy Place, NASA Bolsters Its Planet-Contamination Police," 3 July 2018 Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote a dissent joined by the court’s other three liberal justices, sharply criticized the majority for tossing aside four decades of precedent. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court’s Conservatives Take Their Long-Awaited Shot at Unions," 27 June 2018 But Adams is tossing out her good girl persona for her latest role in Sharp Objects, an eight-episode limited HBO series based off of Gillian Flynn's debut novel by the same name., "Amy Adams' New Role Will Disturb You & That's Okay," 18 June 2018 Morgan, a three-year varsity starter, tossed a complete game as the Huntley defeated Lake Park 5-1 in the Class 4A state semifinals at Joliet Route 66 Stadium. Paul Johnson, Elgin Courier-News, "Good Morgan: Senior left-hander Kyle Morgan shuts down Lake Park to lift Huntley into state final," 9 June 2018 With the shot clock winding down, LeBron tossed the ball off the backboard from beyond the free-throw line and threw down the two-handed dunk just before the 24-second clock went off. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "LeBron James started Game 3 with an electrifying self alley-oop off the backboard," 6 June 2018 His mentor/father-figure and eventual enemy, Tobias Beckett tossed it to him before a heist! Dan Gvozden, The Hollywood Reporter, "74 'Star Wars' Questions 'Solo' Insisted on Answering," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The race will remain rated as a toss-up, according to David Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, because a new primary would give the GOP a chance to replace Mark Harris on the ballot. Valerie Bauerlein, WSJ, "North Carolina Board Calls for New Election in Last Undecided House Race," 21 Feb. 2019 There, Adam Duvall gathered the ball, double-clutched and attempted to throw Swanson out at third base but skipped a wild toss into foul territory in front of the third-base visitors' dugout, allowing Swanson to score from first. Patrick Brennan,, "Cincinnati Reds, Jim Riggleman beat Atlanta Braves behind Sal Romano's solid outing," 23 Apr. 2018 In addition to the 73-yard deep ball to Chark, Lauletta had a one-yard TD toss to Western Kentucky’s Deon Yelder, and a 14-yarder to Oklahoma State’s Marcell Ateman. Tim Bielik,, "Senior Bowl 2018: Josh Allen's big third quarter and 13 other notable performers," 27 Jan. 2018 Like the 8th, southern Minnesota's 1st District was rated a toss-up once Democratic Rep. Tim Walz opted to run for governor, and it's considered another prime GOP pickup opportunity. Steve Karnowski, Fox News, "Somali-American wins Minnesota Democratic US House primary," 15 Aug. 2018 The bags are also made from ballistic shell, a super sturdy and water-resistant material that ensures your bag will survive everything from a kayaking trip to the careless toss of a baggage handler. Mara Balagtas, Condé Nast Traveler, "This New Duffle is Made for the Adventure Traveler," 1 Aug. 2018 The race has been rated a toss-up by political analysts. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "A black candidate made a rap album. His white opponent says it makes him unfit for Congress.," 18 July 2018 The event will end with a water balloon toss at 3:30, which Poulson says usually turns into a water balloon fight. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tosa's Ruckus and Glee is celebrating its third birthday with a Big Wheels race," 11 July 2018 That option is, admittedly, dependent on the toss of a coin. The Economist, "A practical guide to the most nail-biting part of the World Cup," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'toss.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of toss


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3a


1634, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for toss


Middle English

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for toss



English Language Learners Definition of toss

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to throw (something) with a quick, light motion
: to move or lift (something, such as a part of your body) quickly or suddenly
: to move (something) back and forth or up and down



English Language Learners Definition of toss (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of throwing or tossing something with a quick, light motion
: the act of throwing a coin up into the air in order to make a decision about something based on which side of the coin is shown after it lands
: the act of moving your head suddenly upward and backward


\ ˈtȯs How to pronounce toss (audio) \
tossed; tossing

Kids Definition of toss

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to throw with a quick light motion
2 : to lift with a sudden motion The horse tossed its head.
3 : to throw or swing back and forth or up and down Waves tossed the ship about.
4 : to be thrown about rapidly A canoe was tossing on the waves.
5 : to move about restlessly Instead of sleeping, he tossed in his bed.
6 : to stir or mix lightly tossed salad



Kids Definition of toss (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of throwing something
2 : the act of lifting with a sudden motion a toss of the head

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on toss

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with toss

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for toss

Spanish Central: Translation of toss

Nglish: Translation of toss for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of toss for Arabic Speakers

Comments on toss

What made you want to look up toss? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!