\ 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 My husband sat nearby on the edge of an unmade bed strewn with children’s toys. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "Is the Hand Quicker Than the Zoom Window?," 15 May 2020 However, Dave Zoeller, association president, admitted the 28th annual event featuring antique tractors, a flea market, food, old cars and trucks, a toy show and more will likely be canceled. Chris Sims, The Indianapolis Star, "Looking forward to your favorite Indiana festival? Coronavirus may be changing your plans," 15 May 2020 Wind-up toys that walk into a wall and stay there when confronted with new circumstance. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Pandemic That Changed Everything Changed Nothing," 13 May 2020 In the photo, the Robin Hood star appears to be standing in the children's playroom with toys on the floor and the walls decked out in his daughters' adorable artwork. Claudia Harmata,, "Jamie Dornan Hilariously Lets His Daughters Dress Him Up in Blue Wig and Heels: 'Meet Jenny'," 10 May 2020 Extremely active and intelligent, this smart little cookie loves to go on adventures and play with puzzle toys that help keep her mentally stimulated while giving her some beloved snacks as rewards. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Isabelle and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 8 May 2020 Can kids playing with plastic or rubber toys transmit the virus to each other? Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Elected Officials Must Keep Us Better Informed about the Coronavirus," 5 May 2020 Try distracting your dog with chew toys to keep him occupied instead. Southern Living, "Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?," 17 Apr. 2020 Teething toys can help their gums feel better, as well as fascinate them with new textures and shapes. Popular Science, "Teething toys that help soothe your baby’s gums," 15 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Lately, Tokarczuk has been toying with the idea of living more or less full time in her country house in the Kłodzko Valley, and the place is being renovated and extended. Ruth Franklin, The New Yorker, "Olga Tokarczuk’s Novels Against Nationalism," 29 July 2019 For the record, Heughan doesn't mind toying with our emotions. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Sam Heughan Explains Jamie and Claire's ‘Most Intimate’ Outlander Moment Yet," 20 Apr. 2020 The scoring system is known as the Elam Ending named for Ball State education professor Nick Elam, who began toying with the scoring ideas as a student at Dayton. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Chris Paul's vision for NBA All-Star Game facelift has thrilling result," 18 Feb. 2020 To differentiate these perspectives, Mr. Olsen likes to toy with typography. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Headlong City Symphony," 24 Jan. 2020 Likewise de Wilde’s film minimizes Emma’s reckless toying with her friend’s heart. The Conversation, "Perfection comes at a price in latest adaptation of Austen’s ‘Emma’," 27 Mar. 2020 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

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Toy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 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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