[tuh-bog-uh n]


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.

verb (used without object)

to use, or coast on, a toboggan.
to fall rapidly, as prices or one's fortune.


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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for toboggan

Historical Examples of toboggan

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

  • 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



a light wooden frame on runners used for sliding over snow and ice
a long narrow sledge made of a thin board curved upwards and backwards at the front

verb -gans, -ganing or -ganed

(intr) to ride on a toboggan
Derived Formstobogganer or tobogganist, noun

Word Origin for toboggan

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper