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 cara toy store/company/makera 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

Example Sentences

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
Without much deliberation, Sheva whips out that teeny-weeny mortar, basically a toy, an oversized under-barrel grenade launcher. Sébastien Roblin, Popular Mechanics, 23 Feb. 2023 In November 2022, Nina and Jose hosted a toy drive to benefit Venezuelan children. Adam England, Peoplemag, 10 Feb. 2023 The toy reportedly sold for as much as $75 on China’s secondary market. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 9 Feb. 2023 The film series had a spinoff movie about Buzz Lightyear's origins as a human – not a toy – released last year. Christopher Brito, CBS News, 9 Feb. 2023 If shopping is more your speed, check out Seaport Village, which boasts clothing, toy, souvenir, and gift shops, as well as casual and fine dining. Catherine Garcia, The Week, 28 Jan. 2023 More than 200,000 people donated more than $9 million to a toy drive Hamlin had previously established on a GoFundMe page. Jonathan Ellis, New York Times, 28 Jan. 2023 Inspired by a real doll named Robert, Child’s Play tells the story of a young boy and his new toy: a doll with a colorful striped shirt, flaming red hair and a relentless desire to kill. Milan Polk, Men's Health, 26 Jan. 2023 More than $7 million in donations have poured into a previously small fundraiser, a toy drive that Hamlin established two years ago. Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2023
After listening to his peers rave about the generative AI tool ChatGPT, Cobbs decided to toy around with the chatbot while writing an essay on the history of capitalism. WIRED, 30 Jan. 2023 That opportunity to toy with viewers is part of what has drawn Williams back to horror. Jordan Crucchiola, WIRED, 29 Dec. 2022 Guirgis builds characters from the sum of small details (Oswaldo’s choice of breakfast foods alone could tell his entire story), and times their revelations to toy with expectations. Naveen Kumar, Variety, 19 Dec. 2022 The Frogs have the firepower to toy with the struggling Mountaineer defense. Dallas News, 27 Oct. 2022 De León arrived at Friday’s event — the tree lighting and toy giveaway — in Lincoln Park around 4:45 p.m. Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times, 11 Dec. 2022 Both artists make pictures that are basically flat, but toy with a sense of depth. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 28 Oct. 2022 To toy with Kentucky’s (10-6, 1-3 SEC) defense all night. Ryan Black, The Courier-Journal, 11 Jan. 2023 Video games are just another tool to toy with billions of years of history. Pearse Anderson, WIRED, 2 Jan. 2023
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 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, 1 Apr. 2018 See More

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.

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 26 Mar. 2023.

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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