\ ˈtȯi How to pronounce toy (audio) \

Definition of toy

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : something for a child to play with
2 : something diminutive especially : a diminutive animal (as of a small breed or variety)
3 : something that can be toyed with
4a : something (such as a preoccupation) that is paltry or trifling
b : a literary or musical trifle or diversion
5 Scotland : a headdress of linen or woolen hanging down over the shoulders and formerly worn by old women of the lower classes

6 obsolete

a : flirtatious or seductive behavior
b : pastime also : a sportive or amusing act : antic


toyed; toying; toys

Definition of toy (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to act or deal with something lightly or without vigor or purpose toyed with the idea
2 : to amuse oneself as if with a toy : play they're just toying with him
3 : to engage in flirtation



Definition of toy (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : of diminutive size compared to a standard form or breed a toy dog
2 : designed or made for use as a toy a toy stove

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Other Words from toy


toylike \ -​ˌlīk How to pronounce toylike (audio) \ adjective


toyer \ ˈtȯi-​ər How to pronounce toyer (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for toy


trifle, toy, dally, flirt, coquet mean to deal with or act toward without serious purpose. trifle may imply playfulness, unconcern, indulgent contempt. to trifle with a lover's feelings toy implies acting without full attention or serious exertion of one's powers. a political novice toying with great issues dally suggests indulging in thoughts or plans merely as an amusement. dallying with the idea of building a boat someday flirt implies an interest or attention that soon passes to another object. flirted with one fashionable ism after another coquet implies attracting interest or admiration without serious intention. companies that coquet with environmentalism solely for public relations

Examples of toy in a Sentence


Please put away your toys. He bought a new TV and a few other toys. Her latest toy is a sports car. Your car is just a toy compared to this truck.


the cat toyed with the mouse it had caught, batting it about likes to toy with men whom she has no intention of actually dating


Put your toys back in the toy box .
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Our favorite affordable robot vacuum—for under $150 Robot vacuums are like a toy that actually does work for you. Shayna Murphy, USA TODAY, "The 7 best deals you can get this Thursday," 11 July 2019 The shop dog, Paris, a silver toy poodle, prances around like a wind-up Steiff toy. Catherine Blinder,, "Neighborhood barbershops: A place to belong, to talk truths, to become men," 10 July 2019 Disney is recalling a Toy Story 4 plush toy due to a potential choking hazard for young children. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, "Disney Recalls 'Toy Story 4' Plush Toy Due to Choking Hazard," 8 July 2019 Create a good association with the noise by bringing out a favorite toy or a treat. Molly Korzenowski, Twin Cities, "How to keep friends, family — and dogs — safe this Fourth of July," 2 July 2019 Before Monday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the group brought a stuffed cat toy with them into the clubhouse and chased around Escobar while also playing a video emitting cat sounds. Jenna Ortiz, azcentral, "Diamondbacks starter Luke Weaver's latest MRI reveals good news," 24 June 2019 Pixar’s original beloved characters are back as Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy named Forky. Kenneth Turan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Toy Story 4’ grows up but still keeps the joy of toys," 20 June 2019 Guns are not a toy and should never be used as a substitute. Carol Robinson |,, "Girl, 12, accidentally shoots 2 teen boys, Birmingham police say," 18 June 2019 So the child faces the wall and the researcher takes out a toy. National Geographic, "Episode 2: Evolution of a Little Liar," 18 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The kicker in this piece is when anonymous claims that the cabinet officials, so distraught by the president even toyed with the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment. Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway reacts to anonymous 'resistance' NYT op-ed," 5 Sep. 2018 So, with governments like Dubai's toying with the idea and Ehang showing off what its little flying eggs can do, the race for flying, autonomous, electric vehicles is very much on. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "Ehang Releases Footage of Successful Passenger Drone Flights," 7 Feb. 2018 As one person said, Chancellor could just be toying with everyone. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Kam Chancellor Instagram photo aside, retirement remains an unlikely option anytime soon," 27 Jan. 2018 The errors came fast, and Nadal started toying with him. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Federer and Nadal’s Wimbledon Rematch Showed Just How Alike the Two Greats Have Become," 12 July 2019 Strengths: Emery has toyed with both a back four and a back three this season, implementing a an outright left-back as well as wing-backs., "Arsenal Signings: Assessing the Gunners' Transfer Targets (and How Unlikely They Are to Happen)," 23 June 2019 My best friend, Cathy, had been toying on and off for years with trying out professional straightening products to transform her curly hair. Longreads, "True Roots," 5 June 2019 The park has already toyed with barbecue in the area, with a smoker installed in the courtyard during special events, such as the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Dewayne Bevil,, "Disney: Epcot’s Liberty Inn closing; BBQ, craft beers moving in," 26 June 2019 Starting guard Kianna Smith has transferred, and McDonald’s All-America freshman McKenzie Forbes has toyed with the notion. Rusty Simmons,, "Cal hires Charmin Smith as head women’s basketball coach," 21 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Without proper safeguards—by parents, if not toy companies—children are at risk, both individually and through collection of aggregate data about kids’ activities. Marie-helen Maras, Scientific American, "4 Ways “Internet of Things” Toys Endanger Children," 10 May 2018 When the researchers presented plans for their study to tribe members who were trained research assistants, the assistants protested that the experiment—which involved watching children play with toy animals—was not culturally appropriate. Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American, "Culture Shapes How Children View the Natural World," 1 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'toy.' 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 toy


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6


circa 1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for toy


Middle English toye

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Learn More about toy

Dictionary Entries near toy






toy boy

toy dog

Statistics for toy

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for toy

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

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More Definitions for toy



English Language Learners Definition of toy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something a child plays with
sometimes disapproving : something that an adult buys or uses for enjoyment or entertainment
: something that is very small



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

: of, for, or relating to toys
: of a kind that is meant for a child to play with
used to describe an animal (such as a dog) that is the smallest kind of a particular breed


\ ˈtȯi How to pronounce toy (audio) \

Kids Definition of toy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something for a child to play with
2 : something of little or no value
3 : something small of its kind


toyed; toying

Kids Definition of toy (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to fidget or play with without thinking
2 : to think about something briefly and not very seriously He was toying with the idea of doing a whole book of drawings.— Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia
3 : to flirt with

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More from Merriam-Webster on toy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with toy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for toy

Spanish Central: Translation of toy

Nglish: Translation of toy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of toy for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about toy

Comments on toy

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


to complain fretfully

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