General English

  • noun the act of throwing something into the air
  • noun a sharp movement of the head up and down
  • verb to throw something up into the air
  • verb to move something about


  • noun the flipping of a coin by one of the two captains as a way of deciding which team shall bat first
    Citation ‘The toss in cricket is more important in determining the result of matches than in any other sport’ (Marqusee 1994)
  • verb to flip a coin in order to decide which team shall bat first
    Citation ‘As Hughes and I walked out to toss in the bright sunshine, there was already an eager air of anticipation around the ground’ (Brearley 1982)


  • verb to turn food over, usually with two spoons, so that it becomes coated with a dressing, e.g. melted butter on vegetables or vinaigrette dressing on salads
  • verb to coat pieces of food with a powder such as flour by shaking them together in a bag
  • verb to turn over something being cooked in a frying pan by throwing it into the air with a flicking motion of the pan and catching it


  • noun something futile, worthless or useless. A word usually found in the phrase ‘a load of old toss’. It denotes the semen ejaculated in masturbation, and is influenced also by tosh meaning nonsense.
  • noun an obnoxious and/or foolish person. The term is a shortening of tosser or toss-bag.
  • verb to deliberately lose a match, game or contest (usually as part of a gambling conspiracy). A racier version of ‘throw’.
  • verb to search and/or ransack premises in pursuit of evidence of crime or of booty. An underworld and law enforcers’ term.
  • verb to defeat. A term used particularly in sport; it probably derives from the image of a wrestler or bull tossing an opponent, or simply from the standard sense of ‘toss aside’.