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verb (used with object), tot·ed, tot·ing.
  1. to carry, as on one's back or in one's arms: to tote a bundle.
  2. to carry on one's person: to tote a gun.
  3. to transport or convey, as on a vehicle or boat.
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  1. the act or course of toting.
  2. something that is toted.
  3. tote bag.
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Origin of tote1

An Americanism dating back to 1670–80; origin uncertain
Related formstot·a·ble, tote·a·ble, adjectivetot·er, noun


verb (used with object), tot·ed, tot·ing.
  1. Informal. to add up; total.
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Origin of tote2

1885–90; probably v. use of tote, shortening of total


noun Informal.
  1. a totalizator.
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Origin of tote3

First recorded in 1890–95; by shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tote


  1. (tr) to carry, convey, or drag
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  1. the act of or an instance of toting
  2. something toted
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Derived Formstoter, noun

Word Origin

C17: of obscure origin


  1. the Tote (sometimes not capital) trademark short for totalizator (def. 1), totalizator (def. 2)
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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 tote


"to carry," 1670s, of unknown origin; originally attested in Virginia, but OED discounts the popular theory of its origin in a W.African language (cf. Kikongo tota "pick up," Kimbundu tuta "carry, load," related to Swahili tuta "pile up, carry"). Related: Toted; toting. Tote bag is first recorded 1900.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper