\ 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 \ ˈtȯi-​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

Noun 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. Verb 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 Adjective Put your toys back in the toy box .
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Los Angeles will pay nearly $1 million to settle excessive force claims against an LAPD officer who fired into a group of teenagers in 2015 after apparently mistaking a toy gun for a real weapon. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. to pay nearly $1 million in settlement against officer who shot Black teen in back," 26 June 2020 Ice cream bubble toy necklaces can be fun for everyone. Kami Phillips, CNN Underscored, "The cutest summer essentials from Target, starting at just $3," 25 June 2020 In a lab setting, researchers observed the 14-month-old infants' behavior toward three situations: playing in an unfamiliar playroom, exposure to an adult stranger and a novel toy robot. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Anxious or reserved? You might've been that way as a baby," 25 June 2020 Over the 15-year period, more than 60 toy car models were created and sold at Chevron gas stations across America. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "Infamous Characters from TV Commercials," 25 June 2020 The 12-year-old Black boy was shot and killed by police in November 2014 while playing with a toy gun at a park in Cleveland. Karina Bland, The Arizona Republic, "He grew up Black in Tamir Rice's America. 'I do my 100% best not to judge every cop,' he says," 24 June 2020 USA Today checks in with 31 Black teens turning 18 this year, about the boy who won’t be Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy killed by police for holding a toy gun, would have turned 18 this year. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "Dear white people: The work takes time," 23 June 2020 Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old Black boy shot to death by a police officer in November 2014 while playing with a toy gun at a park in Cleveland, would have turned 18 this year. Alex Connor, USA TODAY, "They grew up. Tamir Rice did not.," 23 June 2020 The insatiable demand for bicycles spawned other industries—ball bearings, wire for spokes, steel tubing, precision toolmaking—that would shape the manufacturing world long after the bicycle was relegated to the toy department. National Geographic, "How bicycles transformed our world," 17 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In many ways, the experiment started in the 1980s with Don Nelson creating mismatches with small lineups and toying with using his forwards to initiate the offense. Rusty Simmons,, "They got next: Warriors prep for Rockets’ new ‘unguardable’ 3-point offense," 19 Feb. 2020 These aren’t the only companies toying with AR footwear. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "AR Sneaker Apps: Why the Future of Footwear is Digital," 3 Feb. 2020 His scheme relies heavily on play-action, and his ability to toy with a defense is impressive. Ben Volin,, "Film study: 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo is far more than a game manager," 27 Jan. 2020 The press release also mentions that there's a more in-depth simulation of the Spanish Civil War for people to toy with. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "PDXCON 2019: Paradox reveals Crusader Kings III, Surviving the Aftermath, and more," 19 Oct. 2019 The move might not even be permanent, as Popovich can be expected to toy with different lineup configurations as the preseason progresses. Jeff Mcdonald,, "Derrick White’s summer abroad could pay dividends for Spurs’ bench," 5 Oct. 2019 Three years ago, Assistant Chief Bryan Roach had been toying with the idea of leaving the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Bryan Roach considered leaving IMPD during a challenging time. He became chief instead.," 18 Dec. 2019 The library board has been toying with the idea since 2017. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wauwatosa library eliminates overdue fines for children's materials," 10 Dec. 2019 Regardless, the new season premiere reveals that she's been toying with the idea of taking over for a long time. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "In Season 2, Succession Is Sarah Snook's Show," 12 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Try Amazon’s own toy subscription service, which boasts a subscription for children aged 3 to 13. Popular Science, "Subscription boxes that’ll have you waiting by the door," 11 Oct. 2019 Scene transitions show toy cities, just like those used on the legendary children’s show, only Lloyd’s story is unfolding in Manhattan, rather than Pittsburgh. Rachel E. Greenspan, Time, "Inside the Unlikely Friendship That Inspired A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," 22 Nov. 2019 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

Time Traveler for toy

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for toy

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Toy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for toy


How to pronounce toy (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for toy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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