Sunday, April 18, 2010



The word 'toss', as morpheme, word, or part of a phrase, is highly
associated with the act of moving something with moderate energy
upwards, and then releasing it; or otherwise allowing it to continue
on its natural trajectory. Most related metaphorical idioms reflect this.

Main Definitions

to toss (V) - to throw gently/lightly

to toss (V) - to discard, to put (carelessly) aside or to (carelessly) place

to toss (V) - to mix or aerate (fluff) f by moving items upwards and
letting them fall

a toss (N) - 1. The act of throwing a coin up and catching it to
determine a decision based on which side of the coin lands face up.
2. A projected outcome which could end in one of two equally
possible results. (see 1) 3. (esp. in sports), the act of lightly throwing a ball or similar object (usually upward) to determine the direction of play


to toss a salad (VP) - to mix the different ingredients of a salad (usually
including dressing) by bringing ingredients from the bottom of the
bowl to the top, usually by raising ingredients above the bowl and
letting them fall back down. A 'tossed salad' is (usually) a green
salad which has already been mixed, probably including the
dressing. (N.B. - on the internet, this expression may be used in
relation to pornographic images, so be careful!

to toss and turn (VP) - to move restlessly whilst trying to fall asleep

to toss a coin (VP) - to make a decision by throwing a coin into the air and catching it, basing the decision on which side of the coin lands face up (see 'flip a coin', 'heads or tails')

toss-up (N) - a situation where the outcome could just as easily be on one side or the other.

to toss (one's) cookies (VP) - to vomit (it is possible to 'toss' other foodstuffs)

tosser (N) (slang, pejorative, mainly UK) - a very unpleasant person, someone you dislike/disagree with/are angry with for some reason. Lit.: s/o who masturbates. Not always a *severe* insult, frequently used in an affectionate, teasing way.

Examples -

"At first we were going to try a social networking model, but we tossed that idea once we got into the development phase."

"If you're looking for the remote, I think I tossed it beside the couch earlier."

"That new ride at LaRonde totally made me want to toss my cookies!"

"Sorry, I don't have that edition of the paper anymore - yesterday was recycling day, and I tossed it."

-"Do you want to eat at Belle Pro or Subway?"
-"I dunno, let's toss it [a coin]."

"....then Fernandez tossed the ball to Gruber to win the game!"

"I tossed* my pillows and duvet before I went to bed so I wouldn't be tossing and turning all night."

*(also: 'fluff (up)')

"Alex was supposed to go to the movie with me but he bailed out* at the
last minute. He's such a tosser!"

*('bail out' can mean many things; in this case it means 'to renege on
an engagement (probably social) that the agent had previously
committed to.')

-"Which would you prefer - a strawberry smoothie or a mango one?"
-"They're both so delicious I can't decide! - it's a toss-up"

So what do you think? Have I missed anything?

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