\ 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

The aesthetic problem is that the object itself is toy-like, too precious to be taken seriously. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "The American Pavilion in the Venice Biennale: Safe and Sorry," 10 Aug. 2019 The show features 25 pieces (mostly from the ‘60s) by the Los Angeles light and space artist, known for canvases that refract light and toy with a viewer’s sense of perception. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Essential Arts: Fury after mass shootings felt in Mozart’s Requiem at the Bowl," 10 Aug. 2019 Get these fantastic toys delivered to your home for free by tomorrow. Joni Sweet, USA TODAY, "Have more fun outdoors in 24 hours with these awesome toys," 8 Aug. 2019 The tariffs will for the first time directly affect a broad range of consumer goods, including smartphones, tablets, sneakers and even toys. Matt Egan, CNN, "Hedge fund manager Kyle Bass wants Elizabeth Warren to be president: She 'would be a problem' for China," 8 Aug. 2019 In celebration of Friends‘ 25th anniversary, LEGO is turning New York City’s most iconic residents — Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Monica, Phoebe and Joey, of course — into toys. Eric Todisco,, "LEGO Releases Friends Set in Honor of Sitcom's 25th Anniversary — and It Includes Gunther!," 8 Aug. 2019 Asked whether American consumers would see higher prices when repairing their homes or shopping for children’s toys, Navarro pivoted to talking points about Chinese fentanyl exports and cybersecurity threats. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "Trump accuses China of currency manipulation and investors are very unhappy," 5 Aug. 2019 Molson Hart, who sells toys online through his company Viahart, typifies the challenge. Fortune, "Amazon Penalizes Marketplace Sellers That Offer Better Prices on," 5 Aug. 2019 Offered through this powerhouse were celluloid dolls, velvet dolls, card games, drums and even a circus pull toy. Brenda Yenke,, "Mickey’s world transcends the decades: Yenke Peddler antiques," 1 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In threatening this week to expand the trade war into a currency war, President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, too, are toying with weapons of mutual assured destruction. Fortune, "The Week Trump and Xi Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Trade War—CEO Daily," 10 Aug. 2019 In an attempt to solve this problem of their own creation, airlines are toying with larger overhead bins. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Cal Inc.: It’s not about the Equifax settlement cash. It’s about sending a message," 5 Aug. 2019 Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck are toying with the idea of using Duvernay in the slot to replace Lil’Jordan Humphrey, who last year led Texas in receptions (86), receiving yards (1,176) and receiving touchdowns (nine). Nick Moyle,, "Texas expects more speed, explosiveness from offense in 2019," 4 Aug. 2019 The man in the cell next to Mr Cheka’s openly toys with a mobile phone. The Economist, "How do you reform a country where gunmen torch Ebola clinics?," 2 Aug. 2019 Toward the end of his life, Barnum toyed with the idea of running for President. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, "What P. T. Barnum Understood About America," 29 July 2019 Joe Biden, Obama’s vice president, toyed with a late entry, but Clinton's poll numbers, her strong establishment support and the conspicuous lack of public encouragement for him by Obama all helped to discourage him from going forward. Steve Kornacki, NBC News, "2016: Clinton, Sanders and black voters pick the winner," 29 July 2019 For decades, commercial firms have toyed with the idea of operating as partial banks, only to shut those plans down when directed to be regulated as banks. Damian Paletta, Washington Post, "President Trump takes aim at Facebook’s cryptocurrency, Libra, saying it should be regulated," 11 July 2019 In the postseason, coach Bruce Cassidy toyed with DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak, who had a 3-1 goals edge, controlled 62.2 percent of the shot share and 64.1 percent of the chances in their brief time in the regular season (57 minutes together). Matt Porter,, "Danton Heinen out to prove he’s top-six Bruin," 11 July 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

13 Aug 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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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