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[tog-uh l] /ˈtɒg əl/
a pin, bolt, or rod placed transversely through a chain, an eye or loop in a rope, etc., as to bind it temporarily to another chain or rope similarly treated.
a toggle joint, or a device having one.
an ornamental, rod-shaped button for inserting into a large buttonhole, loop, or frog, used especially on sports clothes.
  1. Also called toggle rail. a wooden batten across the width of a flat, for strengthening the frame.
  2. Also called toggle iron. a metal device for fastening a toggle rail to a frame.
verb (used with object), toggled, toggling.
to furnish with a toggle.
to bind or fasten with a toggle.
Informal. to turn, twist, or manipulate a toggle switch; dial or turn the switch of (an appliance):
He toggled the TV between the baseball game and the news.
Origin of toggle
First recorded in 1760-70; perhaps variant of tackle
Related forms
toggler, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for toggle
Historical Examples
  • Its toggle switch was at the “on” position, and it was lying on its side.

    The Untouchable Stephen A. Kallis
  • The hatchet he had been using to cut a toggle was lying by his knee.

    Cat and Mouse Ralph Williams
  • A handkerchief and toggle, or stick of any kind, is sometimes substituted.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Gliders were casting off their toggle hooks and swooping earthward.

    A Yankee Flier in Italy Rutherford G. Montgomery
  • With a muttered curse, Merrick flipped a toggle and the scene dimmed.

    Turning Point Alfred Coppel
  • The admiral flipped a couple of toggle switches on his desk.

    Man of Many Minds E. Everett Evans
  • Then he slapped in the clip and yanked up on the toggle loading the chamber.

    Time and Time Again Henry Beam Piper
  • As soon as he was below the deck, Christy closed the scuttle, and secured it with the toggle.

    Taken by the Enemy Oliver Optic
  • We will toggle each other on this special question if you like.

    Outward Bound Oliver Optic
  • It looked just then as though the principal intended to "toggle" him.

    Outward Bound Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for toggle


a wooden peg or metal rod fixed crosswise through an eye at the end of a rope, chain, or cable, for fastening temporarily by insertion through an eye in another rope, chain, etc
a wooden or plastic bar-shaped button inserted through a loop for fastening
a pin inserted into a nautical knot to keep it secure
(machinery) a toggle joint or a device having such a joint
(transitive) to supply or fasten with a toggle or toggles
(computing) (intransitive) often foll by between. to switch to a different option, view, application, etc
Derived Forms
toggler, noun
Word Origin
C18: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for toggle

1769, "short pin passed through the eye of a rope," a nautical word of uncertain origin, perhaps a frequentative form of tog "tug." Meaning "a kind of wall fastener" is recorded from 1934. Toggle bolt is from 1794; toggle switch first attested 1938.


1836, from toggle (n.). Related: Toggled; toggling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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