noun, plural tom·mies. British.

(sometimes initial capital letter) Tommy Atkins.
Slang. bread, especially brown bread, or rations, as formerly distributed to troops and workers.

Origin of tommy

First recorded in 1775–85; by shortening




a male given name, form of Thomas.
Also Tom·mie, Tom·mye. a female given name, form of Thomasina.




Sir Alfred (Joseph),1899–1980, U.S. film and television director and producer, born in England.
Thomas, Jr.Tommy, 1900–44, U.S. polo player.


[toon, tyoon]


Thomas JamesTommy, born 1939, U.S. dancer, choreographer, actor, singer, and director. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tommy

Contemporary Examples of tommy

Historical Examples of tommy

British Dictionary definitions for tommy


noun plural -mies

(often capital) British informal a private in the British ArmyAlso called: Tommy Atkins (ˈætkɪnz)

Word Origin for tommy

C19: originally Thomas Atkins, a name representing a typical private in specimen forms; compare tom 1



Sir Alfred (Joseph). 1899–1980, English film director, noted for his mastery in creating suspense. His films include The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935), Rebecca (1940), Psycho (1960), and The Birds (1963)



a melody, esp one for which harmony is not essential
the most important part in a musical texturethe cello has the tune at that point
the condition of producing accurately pitched notes, intervals, etc (esp in the phrases in tune, out of tune)he can't sing in tune
accurate correspondence of pitch and intonation between instruments (esp in the phrases in tune, out of tune)the violin is not in tune with the piano
the correct adjustment of a radio, television, or some other electronic circuit with respect to the required frequency (esp in the phrases in tune, out of tune)
a frame of mind; disposition or mood
obsolete a musical sound; note
call the tune to be in control of the proceedings
change one's tune, sing another tune or sing another a different tune to alter one's attitude or tone of speech
to the tune of informal to the amount or extent ofcosts to the tune of a hundred pounds


to adjust (a musical instrument or a changeable part of one) to a certain pitch
to adjust (a note, etc) so as to bring it into harmony or concord
(tr) to adapt or adjust (oneself); attuneto tune oneself to a slower life
(tr often foll by up) to make fine adjustments to (an engine, machine, etc) to obtain optimum performance
electronics to adjust (one or more circuits) for resonance at a desired frequency
obsolete to utter (something) musically or in the form of a melody; sing
tune someone grief Southern African slang to annoy or harass someone

Word Origin for tune

C14: variant of tone
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 tommy


"British soldier," 1884, from Thomas Atkins, since 1815 the sample name for filling in army forms. Tommy gun (1929) is short for Thompson gun (see Thompson). Soon extended to other types of sub-machine gun, especially those favored by the mob.



late 14c., "a musical sound, a succession of musical notes," unexplained variant of tone. Meaning "state of being in proper pitch" is from mid-15c.



"bring into a state of proper pitch," c.1500, from tune (n.). Non-musical meaning "to adjust an organ or receiver" is recorded from 1887. Verbal phrase tune in in reference to radio (later also TV) is recorded from 1913; figurative sense of "become aware" is recorded from 1926. Tune out "to eliminate radio reception" is recorded from 1908; figurative sense of "disregard, stop heeding" is from 1928. Related: Tuned; tuning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tommy


In addition to the idioms beginning with tune

  • tune in
  • tune out
  • tune up

also see:

  • call the tune
  • carry a tune
  • change one's tune
  • dance to another tune
  • in tune
  • to the tune of
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.