- one of the terminal digits of the human foot.
- an analogous part in certain animals.
- the forepart of the foot or hoof of a horse or the like.
- the forepart of anything worn on the foot, as of a shoe or stocking.
- a part resembling a toe in shape or position.
- Railroads. the end of a frog in front of the point and in the direction of the switch.
- a journal or part placed vertically in a bearing, as the lower end of a vertical shaft.
- a curved partial cam lifting the flat surface of a follower and letting it drop; wiper.
- Golf. the outer end of the head of a club.
- to furnish with a toe or toes.
- to touch or reach with the toes: The pitcher toed the mound, wound up, and threw a fastball.
- to kick with the toe.
- Golf. to strike (the ball) with the toe of the club.
- to drive (a nail) obliquely.
- to toenail.
- to stand, walk, etc., with the toes in a specified position: to toe in.
- to tap with the toe, as in dancing.
- on one's toes, energetic; alert; ready: The spirited competition kept them on their toes.
- step/tread on (someone's) toes, to offend (a person); encroach on the territory or sphere of responsibility of (another): The new employee stepped on a lot of toes when he suggested reorganizing the office.
- toe the line. line1(def 83).
Origin of toe
- any one of the digits of the foot
- the corresponding part in other vertebrates
- the part of a shoe, sock, etc, covering the toes
- anything resembling a toe in shape or position
- the front part of the head of a golf club, hockey stick, etc
- the lower bearing of a vertical shaft assembly
- the tip of a cam follower that engages the cam profile
- dip one's toe in or dip one's toes in informal to begin doing or try something new or unfamiliar
- on one's toes alert
- tread on someone's toes to offend or insult a person, esp by trespassing on his or her field of responsibility
- turn up one's toes informal to die
- Australian slang speeda player with plenty of toe
- (tr) to touch, kick, or mark with the toe
- (tr) golf to strike (the ball) with the toe of the club
- (tr) to drive (a nail, spike, etc) obliquely
- (intr) to walk with the toes pointing in a specified directionto toe inwards
- toe the line to conform to expected standards, attitudes, etc
Word Origin for toe
Old English ta (plural tan), contraction of *tahe (Mercian tahæ), from Proto-Germanic *taikhwo (cf. Old Norse ta, Old Frisian tane, Middle Dutch te, Dutch teen, Old High German zecha, German Zehe "toe"), probably originally meaning "fingers" as well (many PIE languages still use one word to mean both fingers and toes). The Old English plural tan survived in southwestern England to 14c. To be on (one's) toes "alert, eager" is recorded from 1921.
"touch or reach with the toes," 1813, from toe (n.). First recorded in expression toe the mark, which seems to be nautical in origin.
The chief mate ... marked a line on the deck, brought the two boys up to it, making them 'toe the mark.' [R.H. Dana, "Two Years Before the Mast," 1840]
Related: Toed; toeing.
- Any of the digits of a foot.
step on someone's toes
Also, tread on someone's toes. Hurt or offend someone. For example, Be careful what you say about her losing weight; don't step on her toes, or Would I be stepping on someone's toes if I asked to help out with the party arrangements? This metaphoric idiom transfers physical to emotional pain. [Late 1300s]
In addition to the idiom beginning with toe
- toe the line
- dip one's toes into
- from head to toe
- on one's toes
- step on someone's toes
- turn up one's toes