verb (used without object)
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Origin of toboggan
OTHER WORDS FROM tobogganto·bog·gan·er, to·bog·gan·ist, noun
Words nearby toboggan
What does toboggan mean?
A toboggan is an old-timey sled. One kind is long and narrow with a curved-up front, and another kind has a flat platform on top of runners.
Toboggan can also be used as a verb in exactly the same way that sled can be used as a verb, as in let’s go tobogganing. However, it can also mean to fall rapidly, especially in the context of nonphysical things like stock prices.
Example: We found Grandpa’s old toboggan in the attic and rode it down the hill in the snow today—that thing really flies!
Where does toboggan come from?
The word toboggan has been used in English since at least the 1820s. It derives from the Algonquian family of Native American languages, including Maliseet-Passamaquoddy and Micmac, from terms that referred to a type of sled-like vehicle or tool for pulling things.
You don’t see toboggans too much anymore, but they used to be the only kinds of sleds, so they were quite popular. In the 1800s, Canadian Governor-General Lord Dufferin and his wife Lady Dufferin had a toboggan run (a track to ride toboggans on) built at their winter home in order to host “toboggan parties.”
Later, the verb sense of toboggan was extended in a figurative way to refer to the action of falling rapidly and often in an out-of-control kind of way (like how the comic strip characters Calvin and Hobbes are usually shown riding their toboggan down hills), similar to the word hurtle. It’s typically used in the context of abstract things, as in Stock prices tobogganed to an all-time low today.
Less commonly, toboggan refers to a type of winter hat, which probably gets its names from the fact that people usually wear warm hats when they go tobogganing!
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How is toboggan used in real life?
Toboggans are less popular than they once were due to the availability of all kinds of sleds, and the word often has an antique ring to it. But toboggans are still used, especially in places with long winters.
The Los Alamos ranch school has opened up registration for the summer term following a long winter term in which the school was isolated on cause of the flu epidemic, which found no victims there. A toboggan run has been added to the school just in time for a late snow. pic.twitter.com/A1UrAqn1mx
— Santa Fe Tweets From A Century Past (@SantaCentury) March 7, 2020
Winter Carnival Day! Even the weather cooperated for us with a fresh blanket of snow ❄️ We has beaver tails, maple taffy, and hot chocolate! We got to snow shoe, toboggan, paint in the snow and create ice towers! pic.twitter.com/jRZ4zX8X6B
— Crystal Bay School (@CrystalBayOCDSB) March 7, 2020
The Mackinnon's went South for part of the break…During our 4 day camping trip to Fundy Park, we beta tested an ASDN toboggan. Then, under the cover of darkness and and with colder snow, we achieved a speed of 47.5 km/hr and nearly touched the opposite rim of the bowl! @asdnnb pic.twitter.com/FnfMOM5uov
— UnclePaulie (@UnclePaulie13) March 9, 2020
Try using toboggan!
Is toboggan used correctly in the following sentence?
Everything was fine until we lost that account, but then we quickly tobogganed into bankruptcy.
Example sentences from the Web for toboggan
I swear that none but a female eye could have detected any toboggan fire-escape.Lady Baltimore|Owen Wister
Then he crouched over his toboggan, threw himself face downward, and felt it spring into the air.The Dark Tower|Phyllis Bottome
Morin had a toboggan upon which were piled such necessaries as Madge had collected.A Dozen Ways Of Love|Lily Dougall
We each of us had manufactured a toboggan, which is a small sleigh composed of a long thin slip of willow wood turned up in front.Snow Shoes and Canoes|William H. G. Kingston
After that, he steered the toboggan down the hills, while the scouts ran on skis.Boy Scouts in Glacier Park|Walter Prichard Eaton