\ ˈtȯs , 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

c : match sense 5a

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

b : bandy sense 2

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

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Other words from toss


tosser noun

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The fish get measured and then tossed back into the pond. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Give fishing a try at annual Gurnee event," 3 July 2018 Judge Arthur Hill then tossed out McDaniels’ conviction and prosecutors dropped the charges. Megan Crepeau,, "Prosecutors drop charges against another man tied to corrupt ex-Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts," 25 June 2018 Paul and Juicy forsake their vintage-horror-soundtrack synths for ones that belong in ‘80s action flicks, then toss those into a busy mix with nu-metal guitar presets and Eurodance samples. Patrick Lyons, Billboard, "10 Years Ago, Three 6 Mafia's 'Last 2 Walk' Almost Ruined Their Legacy," 24 June 2018 Using two to three times the amount of oil called for in most recipes, then tossing the extra-crisp kernels in dry seasonings so as not to soften the crunch. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "The Secret to Perfect Popcorn Is Already in Your Cupboard," 22 June 2018 Then the motorcyclist tossed the concrete into the car’s passenger-side window, hitting the woman in the jaw and striking the driver in the elbow, according to police. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Driver honked at weaving motorcycle. His girlfriend got hit in the face with concrete, Ohio cops say," 19 June 2018 These monsters are kidnapping people off the streets and harvesting their cybernetic implants for cash, then tossing the bodies. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Cyberpunk 2077: What we learned in the most mind-blowing game demo we've ever seen," 13 June 2018 Then White tossed his automatic on the pavement and leveled the rifle at the officer., "June 13, 1932: Gunfight in Carlsbad," 13 June 2018 Pour in the half cup of tahini mayo, the lemon zest and the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, the scallions, carrot, dates and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, then toss until well incorporated. Bonnie S. Benwick, charlotteobserver, "Tahini and chicken salad is the perfect pairing," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Wimbledon Foundation also tweeted several photos of Markle and Middleton meeting with Tia Clarke, the 11-year-old girl who did the coin toss for the match. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Just Made Their First Solo Appearance Together at Wimbledon," 14 July 2018 The results showed that strategizing should begin at the coin toss for who goes first. Umair Irfan, Vox, "World Cup shootouts: why the team that goes first usually wins," 11 July 2018 The Cook Political Report calls the race a toss-up. Kelsey Brugger, Scientific American, "Alaska Wants to Fight Warming While Still Drilling for Oil," 12 July 2018 Heitkamp is up for reelection in November in a race that is considered a toss-up. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "These are the senators to watch during Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process," 11 July 2018 The contests involving the other five Democrats — Indiana’s Donnelly, North Dakota’s Heitkamp, Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, Florida’s Bill Nelson and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin — are currently rated as toss-ups. USA TODAY, "'Pivot counties' will be key in fight for Senate control," 10 July 2018 Considered a toss-up by independent analysts, the seat is one of 23 held by Republicans that Democrats want to flip to take control of the House. Jenna Portnoy, Washington Post, "How Trump is affecting Rep. Comstock’s re-election bid," 26 June 2018 All are currently held by Democrats but are listed as toss-ups by the Cook Political Report. NBC News, "In Trump's trade war, China takes aim at vulnerable counties," 24 June 2018 In both cases, the races for what once were relatively secure Republican seats now are rated as toss-ups by the non-partisan Cook Political Report. Sahil Kapur,, "Trump’s ‘Cult-Like’ Grip on GOP Keeps Most Party Members in Line," 13 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.

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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

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Statistics for toss

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for toss

The first known use of toss was in the 15th century

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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 \
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

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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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