1 of 3


plural toys
: something for a child to play with
The children played with their toys.
a plush/stuffed toy
plastic/wooden/electronic toys
a bath toy
often used before another noun
a toy car
a toy store/company/maker
a large toy collection
: something resembling a child's toy especially in providing amusement or entertainment
a dog's chew toy
Among Greg Norman's toys is a 61-foot sportfishing boat …Austin Murphy
: something that is or appears to be small
The duster, a simple aerial crop dusting plane, is a toy in comparison to Delta's fleet now.Bianca Theodore
especially : a small animal (as of a small breed or variety) see also toy fox terrier, toy manchester terrier, toy poodle
: someone or something that can be toyed with
He's just her toy. = He's just a toy in her hands.
I'm referring to unilateral economic sanctions. This instrument of foreign policy has recently become a toy in the hands of our politicians …Oscar Wyatt
: something (such as a preoccupation) that is paltry or trifling
: a literary or musical trifle or diversion
Scotland : a headdress of linen or woolen hanging down over the shoulders and formerly worn by old women of the lower classes
: flirtatious or seductive behavior
: pastime
also : a sportive or amusing act : antic
toylike adjective


2 of 3


toyed; toying; toys

intransitive verb

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


3 of 3


: of diminutive size compared to a standard form or breed
a toy dog
: designed or made for use as a toy
a toy stove
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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Elsewhere on the jet, butterfly decorations adorned the walls, plus a huge Chanel box sat on a seat next to a table with three toys still in their packaging. Jenny Haward, Peoplemag, 18 Feb. 2024 The brand known for its flexible toys that can bend to reach and target your favorite spots is running a 30% off sale right now. Sara Coughlin, SELF, 16 Feb. 2024 The super-chalet was to the chalet what the superyacht was to the yacht: bigger, better, faster, more toys, more luxury, more service . . . Tom Weijand, Robb Report, 15 Feb. 2024 The canine was curled at the child’s feet and was wearing a decorative collar and bell—and even had a toy. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Feb. 2024 The sword-and-sorcery property remains expensive but highly desirable, and Amazon is said to like it as something that brings in fathers, from the generation that grew up on the cartoons and original toys, and their kids. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Feb. 2024 She’s researched thousands of baby products, toys, gifts, and more and personally tested many of them. Katrina Cossey, Parents, 12 Feb. 2024 What is Burlington? Formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, Burlington sells everything from clothing goods to home goods and baby toys. Jacqueline Pinedo, Sacramento Bee, 12 Feb. 2024 In a corner Lego and toys – their subterranean playground – sit ready for recess. Joseph Ataman, CNN, 12 Feb. 2024
After being tasked with an assignment from Dr. Gaul, the two got drunk one night and toyed around with the idea of the Hunger Games. Kelsie Gibson, Peoplemag, 17 Nov. 2023 And, after a few years toying around with a spread offense, Harbaugh went back to his roots, chiseling a dominant running attack behind a grisly offensive line. J. Brady McCollough, Los Angeles Times, 6 Jan. 2024 Like their brothers in arms, the Clash, MacGowan’s Pogues toyed tremendously with the merging of punk, British folk and Latin pulses to exquisite, bold rhythmic effect. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 30 Nov. 2023 When Godzilla returned to cinemas in the 2010s, filmmakers began toying more explicitly with imagery that evoked climate disaster. Asher Elbein, Scientific American, 3 Nov. 2023 During his junior year, Scott toyed around with the idea of running for president of the student government. Robert Samuels, The New Yorker, 1 Nov. 2023 In recent collections, the fashion industry has toyed between the chunky combat and the second skin, the western-inspired and the equestrian, the reimagined welly and the distressed biker—we’ve even witnessed the resurgence of the Chelsea boot thanks to Jonathan Anderson at Loewe. Ciarra Lorren Zatorski, Vogue, 12 Oct. 2023 But, despite it's success, Starbucks toyed around with the idea of discontinuing the drink at one point. Nicholas Rice, Peoplemag, 24 Sep. 2023 The former president has been toying for months with passing on the debate. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 18 Aug. 2023
While non-toy gifts are not evaluated in the Lab, editors still look for gifts put out by trusted brands, gifts with great reviews from purchasers, best-sellers and editors' favorites. Good Housekeeping, 18 Nov. 2022 While some of these toys and non-toy gifts are not evaluated in the Lab, editors still look for gifts put out by trusted brands, gifts with great reviews from purchasers, best-sellers and editors' favorites. Good Housekeeping, 13 Dec. 2022 Not surprisingly, the non-toy version was well beyond my household budget, and — less surprisingly, still — months on back order. Marci Vogel, Los Angeles Times, 22 Jan. 2022 Also, mom and dad are clearly, in non-toy form, overwhelmed and exhausted. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2021 That's why the Chron Shopping team has picked out some of our favorite non-toy gifts for kids to keep children engaged, active, and happy. Micolette Davis, Chron, 19 Nov. 2020 Try Amazon’s own toy subscription service, which boasts a subscription for children aged 3 to 13. Popular Science, 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, 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, 10 May 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'toy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English toye

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6a


circa 1530, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1793, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of toy was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near toy

Cite this Entry

“Toy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: something of little or no value or importance
: something for a child to play with
: something small for its kind
especially : an animal of a breed or variety marked by exceptionally small size
toy adjective
toylike adjective


2 of 2 verb
: to amuse oneself as if with a toy

More from Merriam-Webster on toy

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