• synonyms


[tuh-bog-uh n]
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  1. a long, narrow, flat-bottomed sled made of a thin board curved upward and backward at the front, often with low handrails on the sides, used especially in the sport of coasting over snow or ice.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to use, or coast on, a toboggan.
  2. to fall rapidly, as prices or one's fortune.
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Origin of toboggan

1820–30; < Maliseet-Passamaquoddy tʰapákən, Micmac topaĝan (equivalent to Proto-Algonquian *weta·pye·- to drag a cord + *-kan- instrument for)
Related formsto·bog·gan·er, to·bog·gan·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

decline, sled, bobsled, luge

Examples from the Web for toboggan

Historical Examples

  • So running up to the top and seating myself on the toboggan I set it in motion.

    The Woman Thou Gavest Me

    Hall Caine

  • So steep is the descent that it may be compared to a Canadian toboggan slide.

    Aztec Land

    Maturin M. Ballou

  • He struck the toboggan and he went down with an awful thump.

  • The wet thaw of mid-day had frozen and the road was slippery as a toboggan slide.

  • And will you tell me how they get back to the moon after they slide down the toboggan?

    Rootabaga Stories

    Carl Sandburg

British Dictionary definitions for toboggan


  1. a light wooden frame on runners used for sliding over snow and ice
  2. a long narrow sledge made of a thin board curved upwards and backwards at the front
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verb -gans, -ganing or -ganed
  1. (intr) to ride on a toboggan
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Derived Formstobogganer or tobogganist, noun

Word Origin

C19: from Canadian French, from Algonquian; related to Abnaki udābāgan
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

Word Origin and History for toboggan


"long, flat-bottomed sled," 1829, from Canadian French tabagane, from Algonquian (probably Micmac) tobakun "a sled." The verb is recorded from 1846. As American English colloquial for a type of long woolen cap, it is recorded from 1929 (earlier toboggan cap, 1928), presumably because one wore such a cap while tobogganing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper