from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To throw lightly or casually or with a sudden jerk: synonym: throw.
  • intransitive verb To throw or propel upward.
  • intransitive verb To throw or propel to the ground.
  • intransitive verb To cause to move from side to side or up and down.
  • intransitive verb To move or lift (the head) with a sudden motion.
  • intransitive verb To mix (food) lightly so as to cover with dressing or sauce.
  • intransitive verb To discuss informally; bandy.
  • intransitive verb To flip (coins) in order to decide an issue.
  • intransitive verb To flip coins with.
  • intransitive verb To put in a given position, condition, or situation.
  • intransitive verb To throw away; discard.
  • intransitive verb To disqualify or eject.
  • intransitive verb To be thrown here and there; be flung to and fro or up and down.
  • intransitive verb To move about restlessly; twist and turn.
  • intransitive verb To flip a coin to decide an issue.
  • noun The act of tossing something.
  • noun The distance that something is or can be tossed.
  • noun An abrupt upward movement, as of the head.
  • noun A flipping of a coin to decide an issue.
  • idiom (toss (one's) cookies) To vomit.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In cricket, a ball bowled so as to reach the batsman before touching the ground;. a full-pitch.
  • In cricket, to bowl (a full-pitch).
  • To refine (tin) by fusing it and then causing the molten metal to fall in thin filaments through the air. Oxidizable impurities acted on by the air are separated out and form a scum which is skimmed off, after the stream has come to rest in the receiving vessel.
  • noun A sudden fling or jerk; especially, a quick movement of the head backward or upward.
  • noun A pitch; a throw: as, the toss of a ball or a coin.
  • noun The distance over which one tosses anything; a throw.
  • noun A state of agitation or excitement; a commotion.
  • noun A toss-up: with reference to a case in which chance decides.
  • noun The mow or bay of a barn into which grain is put preparatory to threshing.
  • To lift, heave, or throw up with a sudden, impatient, or spirited movement; jerk: as, to toss one's head.
  • To jerk or fling to and fro; heave or pitch up and down or from one place to another; tumble or throw about.
  • In mining, to separate (ore) from the gangue by stirring (tossing) the slimes with water in a keeve, and then allowing the heavier, valuable parts to settle, this operation being hastened by packing, or striking the sides of the keeve with an iron bar held vertically with one end resting on the ground, an operation which may be continued from a quarter of an hour to an hour.
  • To cast; pitch; fling; hurl; specifically, to throw with the palm of the hand upward; throw lightly or carelessly.
  • Figuratively, to disquiet; agitate; set in commotion, as by shifting opinions, feelings, circumstances, or influences; disturb; disorder.
  • To pass from one to another, as in conversation or discussion; bandy.
  • To turn over and over; busy one's self with; turn the leaves of, as a book or lesson.
  • To toss up with. See to toss up, under II.
  • Same as to toss off (which see, below).
  • To dress hastily or smartly; trick: with out.
  • To dispose of; pass off; while away: said of time.
  • To jerk or throw one's self about; roll or tumble about; be restless or uneasy; fling.
  • To be flung or rocked about; be kept in motion.
  • Same as to toss up (which see, below).


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English tossen, possibly of Scandinavian origin.]


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  • _toss_, some of the boys sat still, looking at Marco, and not knowing what to do; others raised their oars into the air, some one way and some another; and Joseph, who was a little discomposed by the rebuff he had met with, concluded that he would obey as literally as possible, let what would come of it and he gave his oar a high toss into the air.

    Marco Paul's Voyages and Travels; Vermont Jacob Abbott 1841

  • But if winning the coin toss is (nearly) tantamout to winning the overtime, then what is the point?

    Archive 2008-02-01 2008

  • Once the coin toss is flipped, once 800 airplanes fly over, once the fireworks go off, once the top 15 singers in the country sing, once the circus gets done juggling and the elephants leave and the giraffes leave, I'm pretty sure my playbook is going to be the same. - Super Watch: Three days to go 2005

  • The rest of them, the eight yellow states here, are all what we call toss-up states, true swing states where it could go one way or the other.

    CNN Transcript Sep 26, 2008 2008

  • But before the game begins, he'll take part in a pre-game coin toss, which is ceremonial.

    CNN Transcript Dec 1, 2001 2001

  • Willem lost the coin toss, meaning that there was no coin at all and I just gave him one of my carefully patented looks until he broke down like an old jalopy, and so he went to Walgreens for replacement 9-volt batteries.

    One More Thing 2008

  • Seattle did not come from a coin toss, but the 'environmentalist' speech attributed to him is a fraud.

    Malcolm on the mall (Jack Bog's Blog) 2009

  • We chose a campground a pebble's toss from the beach, next to two middle-aged guys from Canada who, it turned out, were there for the nudist scene.

    Mexico's endless Pacific beach: sun, surf, sand, seafood and solitude 2009

  • A: Do you you have a “reason to believe” that this coin toss will come upheads?

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Video of the Stuntz Conference 2010

  • JB, is it possible to have Caitlin toss a grappling hook around a sattelite tower as her descent reaches building level?

    Cheeseburger Gothic » Gentlemen’s Club. 2010


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