tosser

[taws-er]

What does tosser mean?

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Tosser is a British slang expression for an obnoxious jerk.

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Examples of tosser

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Examples of tosser
My ex had a huge collection of carnivorous plants, they are amazing. Unlike him, who is a tosser.
@merkinabout, December 2018
Yes, CNBC published a prime example of one of the internet’s most assured paths to hate clicks, a money diary from a rich tosser.
Libby Watson, Splinter, December 2018

Where does tosser come from?

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The slang word tosser emerges in the United Kingdom in the 1970s. It likely derives from the older slang toss off, an expression for masturbation which dates back to 1735.

tosser, then, is someone who masturbates a lot—and therefore a contemptible person more generally. This literal sense explains the obscene hand gesture that sometimes accompanies the insult.

Given its connection to masturbation, tosser is almost exclusively used as an insult against men.

One early printed example of tosser comes from the magazine ZigZag in 1977: “She came on in a big mac and flashed her legs like an old tosser before throwing it off.”

While tosser was initially associated with masturbation and sometimes still is, it has spread as a general term for “jerk,” i.e., an obnoxious person. A similar word, though slightly older than tosser, is wanker.

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Before the slang expression tosser, tosser was meant more generally to mean literally someone who tosses things, like in factories or sports.

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Who uses tosser?

The expression tosser is especially associated with British slang, though it’s also used in Australia and New Zealand .

Calling someone a tosser is not very polite. While it’s not the most vulgar insult out there, it’s also not exactly something you’d want to call your grandfather. When said in anger, it’s similar in strength to asshole or jerk.

Among familiars, tosser can also be used in a self-deprecating or friendly way.

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