See more synonyms for toe on
  1. one of the terminal digits of the human foot.
  2. an analogous part in certain animals.
  3. the forepart of the foot or hoof of a horse or the like.
  4. the forepart of anything worn on the foot, as of a shoe or stocking.
  5. a part resembling a toe in shape or position.
  6. Railroads. the end of a frog in front of the point and in the direction of the switch.
  7. Machinery.
    1. a journal or part placed vertically in a bearing, as the lower end of a vertical shaft.
    2. a curved partial cam lifting the flat surface of a follower and letting it drop; wiper.
  8. Golf. the outer end of the head of a club.
verb (used with object), toed, toe·ing.
  1. to furnish with a toe or toes.
  2. to touch or reach with the toes: The pitcher toed the mound, wound up, and threw a fastball.
  3. to kick with the toe.
  4. Golf. to strike (the ball) with the toe of the club.
  5. Carpentry.
    1. to drive (a nail) obliquely.
    2. to toenail.
verb (used without object), toed, toe·ing.
  1. to stand, walk, etc., with the toes in a specified position: to toe in.
  2. to tap with the toe, as in dancing.
  1. on one's toes, energetic; alert; ready: The spirited competition kept them on their toes.
  2. 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.
  3. toe the line. line1(def 83).

Origin of toe

before 900; Middle English; Old English tā; cognate with Dutch teen, German Zehe, Old Norse
Related formstoe·less, adjectivetoe·like, adjective
Can be confusedtoe tow


  1. HectorToe, 1912–1995, Canadian ice hockey player and coach.
  2. James HubertEubie, 1883–1983, U.S. jazz pianist and composer.
  3. Robert,1599–1657, British admiral.
  4. William,1757–1827, English poet, engraver, and painter.
  5. a male or female given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for toe

appendage, digit, dactyl, phalanges, phalanx

Examples from the Web for toe

Contemporary Examples of toe

Historical Examples of toe

  • He knew that make of gun from toe to foresight; he could assemble it in the dark.

  • The Little Doctor stopped the hammock with her toe and sat up.

  • "I see," said Peter, deeply interested in the toe of his shoe.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • When there is a Point at the end of the sinking Mark, it shews, that the Toe must be bent downwards.


    John Weaver

  • He picked up the bridle-reins, caught the saddle-horn, and thrust his toe into the stirrup.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

British Dictionary definitions for toe


  1. any one of the digits of the foot
  2. the corresponding part in other vertebrates
  3. the part of a shoe, sock, etc, covering the toes
  4. anything resembling a toe in shape or position
  5. the front part of the head of a golf club, hockey stick, etc
  6. the lower bearing of a vertical shaft assembly
  7. the tip of a cam follower that engages the cam profile
  8. dip one's toe in or dip one's toes in informal to begin doing or try something new or unfamiliar
  9. on one's toes alert
  10. tread on someone's toes to offend or insult a person, esp by trespassing on his or her field of responsibility
  11. turn up one's toes informal to die
  12. Australian slang speeda player with plenty of toe
verb toes, toeing or toed
  1. (tr) to touch, kick, or mark with the toe
  2. (tr) golf to strike (the ball) with the toe of the club
  3. (tr) to drive (a nail, spike, etc) obliquely
  4. (intr) to walk with the toes pointing in a specified directionto toe inwards
  5. toe the line to conform to expected standards, attitudes, etc
Derived Formstoelike, adjective

Word Origin for toe

Old English tā; related to Old Frisian tāne, Old Norse tā, Old High German zēha, Latin digitus finger


  1. Sir Peter . born 1932, British painter, a leading exponent of pop art in the 1960s: co-founder of the Brotherhood of Ruralists (1969)
  2. Sir Quentin (Saxby). born 1932, British artist, illustrator, and children's writer; noted esp for his illustrations to books by Roald Dahl
  3. Robert . 1599–1657, English admiral, who commanded Cromwell's fleet against the Royalists, the Dutch, and the Spanish
  4. William . 1757–1827, English poet, painter, engraver, and mystic. His literary works include Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793), and Jerusalem (1820). His chief works in the visual arts include engravings of a visionary nature, such as the illustrations for The Book of Job (1826), for Dante's poems, and for his own Prophetic Books (1783–1804)
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 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

toe in Medicine


  1. Any of the digits of a foot.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with toe


In addition to the idiom beginning with toe

  • toe the line

also see:

  • dip one's toes into
  • from head to toe
  • on one's toes
  • step on someone's toes
  • turn up one's toes
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.