verb Literary.

  1. a simple past tense and past participle of toss.

verb (used with object), tossed or (Literary) tost; toss·ing.

  1. to throw, pitch, or fling, especially to throw lightly or carelessly: to toss a piece of paper into the wastebasket.
  2. to throw or send from one to another, as in play: to toss a ball.
  3. to throw or pitch with irregular or careless motions; fling or jerk about: The ship was tossed by waves.
  4. to agitate, disturb, or disquiet.
  5. to throw, raise, or jerk upward suddenly: She tossed her head disdainfully.
  6. to speak or express in a sudden offhand manner; interject: He tossed jokes into their serious discussion.
  7. to throw (a coin) into the air in order to decide something by the side turned up when it falls (sometimes followed by up).
  8. to toss a coin with (someone).
  9. to stir or mix (a salad) lightly until the ingredients are coated with the dressing.

verb (used without object), tossed or (Literary) tost; toss·ing.

  1. to pitch, rock, sway, or move irregularly, as a ship on a rough sea or a flag or plumes in the breeze.
  2. to fling or jerk oneself or move restlessly about, especially on a bed or couch: to toss in one’s sleep.
  3. to throw something.
  4. to throw a coin into the air in order to decide something by the way it falls (sometimes followed by up).
  5. to go with a fling of the body: to toss out of a room in a fit of anger.


  1. an act or instance of tossing.
  2. a pitching about or up and down.
  3. a throw or pitch.
  4. tossup(def 1).
  5. the distance to which something is or may be thrown.
  6. a sudden fling or jerk of the body, especially a quick upward or backward movement of the head.

Verb Phrases

  1. toss off,
    1. to accomplish quickly or easily.
    2. to consume rapidly, especially to drink something up in one swallow: He tossed off a cocktail before dinner.
    3. British masturbate.
  2. toss up, Informal. to vomit.

  1. toss one’s cookies, Slang. cookie(def 7).


  1. (tr) to throw lightly or with a flourish, esp with the palm of the hand upwards
  2. to fling or be flung about, esp constantly or regularly in an agitated or violent waya ship tosses in a storm
  3. to discuss or put forward for discussion in an informal way
  4. (tr) (of an animal such as a horse) to throw (its rider)
  5. (tr) (of an animal) to butt with the head or the horns and throw into the airthe bull tossed the matador
  6. (tr) to shake, agitate, or disturb
  7. to toss up a coin with (someone) in order to decide or allot somethingI’ll toss you for it; let’s toss for it
  8. (intr) to move away angrily or impatientlyshe tossed out of the room


  1. an abrupt movement
  2. a rolling or pitching motion
  3. the act or an instance of tossing
  4. the act of tossing up a coinSee toss up (def. 1)
  5. a fall from a horse or other animal
  6. argue the toss to wrangle or dispute at length
  7. give a toss slang to be concerned or interested (esp in the phrase not give a toss)

c.1500, possibly from a Scandinavian source (cf. dialectal Norwegian tossa “to strew, spread”). Related: Tossed; tossing. Food preparation sense (with reference to salad, etc.) is recorded from 1723. The noun meaning “an act of throwing” is first recorded 1650s. Tosspot “heavy drinker” is from 1560s. Toss-up “even matter” first recorded 1809, from earlier sense of “a flipping of a coin to arrive at a decision” (c.1700). Tosser as a term of contempt in British slang is recorded from 1977, probably from slang toss off “masturbate” (1969); cf. jerk (n.).

In addition to the idioms beginning with toss

  • toss off
  • toss one’s cookies

also see:

  • throw away (toss out)
  • throw (toss) one’s hat in the ring
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