made or designed for use as a toy: a toy gun.
of or resembling a toy, especially diminutive in size.

verb (used without object)

Origin of toy

1275–1325; Middle English toye dalliance; of obscure origin
Related formstoy·er, nountoy·less, adjectivetoy·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for toy

Contemporary Examples of toy

Historical Examples of toy

  • He was sitting on the floor with our boy gravely intent on a toy circus.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • Even this toy of a train brings us, in thirty minutes, to Beirut.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • You were but a lad learning to fly your first toy helics when that happened.

    In the Orbit of Saturn

    Roman Frederick Starzl

  • We learn first to play with it academically, as the magnet was once a toy.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • He wrapped the toy vane in a piece of paper and handed it to his small patron.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for toy



an object designed to be played with
  1. something that is a nonfunctioning replica of something else, esp a miniature one
  2. (as modifier)a toy guitar
any small thing of little value; trifle
  1. something small or miniature, esp a miniature variety of a breed of dog
  2. (as modifier)a toy poodle


(intr usually foll by with) to play, fiddle, or flirt
Derived Formstoyer, nountoyless, adjectivetoylike, adjective

Word Origin for toy

C16 (in the sense: amorous dalliance): of uncertain 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 toy

c.1300, "amorous playing, sport," later "piece of fun or entertainment" (c.1500), "thing of little value, trifle" (1520s), and "thing for a child to play with" (1580s). Of uncertain origin, and there may be more than one word here. Cf. Middle Dutch toy, Dutch tuig "tools, apparatus, stuff, trash," in speeltuig "play-toy, plaything;" German Zeug "stuff, matter, tools," Spielzeug "plaything, toy;" Danish tøi, Swedish tyg "stuff, gear."


1520s, from toy (n.).

If he be merie and toy with any,
His wife will frowne, and words geve manye.
["Song of the Bachelor's Life," 16c.]

Related: Toyed; toying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper