[tog-uh l]


a pin, bolt, or rod placed transversely through a chain, an eye or loop in a rope, etc., as to bind it temporarily to another chain or rope similarly treated.
a toggle joint, or a device having one.
an ornamental, rod-shaped button for inserting into a large buttonhole, loop, or frog, used especially on sports clothes.
  1. Also called toggle rail.a wooden batten across the width of a flat, for strengthening the frame.
  2. Also called toggle iron.a metal device for fastening a toggle rail to a frame.

verb (used with object), tog·gled, tog·gling.

Origin of toggle

First recorded in 1760–70; perhaps variant of tackle
Related formstog·gler, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for toggle

knob, switch, dial, tuner, adjuster

Examples from the Web for toggle

Historical Examples of toggle

  • Its toggle switch was at the “on” position, and it was lying on its side.

    The Untouchable

    Stephen A. Kallis

  • The hatchet he had been using to cut a toggle was lying by his knee.

    Cat and Mouse

    Ralph Williams

  • A handkerchief and toggle, or stick of any kind, is sometimes substituted.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • Gliders were casting off their toggle hooks and swooping earthward.

    A Yankee Flier in Italy

    Rutherford G. Montgomery

  • With a muttered curse, Merrick flipped a toggle and the scene dimmed.

    Turning Point

    Alfred Coppel

British Dictionary definitions for toggle



a wooden peg or metal rod fixed crosswise through an eye at the end of a rope, chain, or cable, for fastening temporarily by insertion through an eye in another rope, chain, etc
a wooden or plastic bar-shaped button inserted through a loop for fastening
a pin inserted into a nautical knot to keep it secure
machinery a toggle joint or a device having such a joint


(tr) to supply or fasten with a toggle or toggles
computing (intr, often foll by between) to switch to a different option, view, application, etc
Derived Formstoggler, noun

Word Origin for toggle

C18: of unknown origin
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 toggle

1769, "short pin passed through the eye of a rope," a nautical word of uncertain origin, perhaps a frequentative form of tog "tug." Meaning "a kind of wall fastener" is recorded from 1934. Toggle bolt is from 1794; toggle switch first attested 1938.


1836, from toggle (n.). Related: Toggled; toggling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper