- noun a term of address to a stranger, invariably used by a man to another man. This working-class word, now obsolescent, was a favourite with spivs and young toughs in the 1950s and early 1960s. It can be used with bravado, in rough comradeship or provokingly. In this sense it possibly derives from Scottish or Cornish dialect, in which it meant smart or well-dressed.
- noun nonsense. A 19th-century public-school and university term that was obsolescent, except in affected usage, during the 1960s and 1970s, but was revived in the 1980s. It often forms part of phrases such as ‘tosh and tarradiddle’ or ‘tosh and twaddle’, equating with ‘stuff and nonsense’. The origin of this sense of the word is obscure; it may be an imitation of a snort of derision (as in ‘tish’ or ‘bosh’) or derive from ‘toshy’, meaning over-dressed.