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See also: TOSH and Tosh



  • IPA(key): /tɒʃ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒʃ

Etymology 1[edit]

From 19th-century British thieves' cant, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from *tarsh, a metathetic alteration of trash; or from toss.
Sense of nonsense possibly influenced by tush (nonsense! tsk tsk!) attested from 15th century.

Alternative forms[edit]


tosh (countable and uncountable, plural toshes)

  1. (uncountable, British, slang, obsolete) Copper; items made of copper.
    • [1851, Henry Mayhew, “Of the Sewer-hunters”, in London Labour and the London Poor; [], volume II (The London Street-folk. Book the Second.), London: [Griffin, Bohn, and Company], →OCLC, page 150, column 2:
      The sewer-hunters were formerly, and indeed are still, called by the name of "Toshers," the articles which they pick up in the course of their wanderings along shore being known among themselves by the general term "tosh," a word more particularly applied by them to anything made of copper.]
  2. (uncountable, chiefly British, slang, rare) Valuables retrieved from drains and sewers.
    • 1974, Joan Aiken, Midnight is a Place, page 164:
      I am present engaged in fishing for tosh in the sewers of Blastburn.
  3. (chiefly British, slang, uncountable) Rubbish, trash, (now especially) nonsense, bosh, balderdash
  4. (UK, archaic school slang, countable) A bath or foot pan
    • 1881, Leathes in C.E. Pascoe, Everyday Life in our Public Schools, ii. 20
      A ‘tosh’ pan... is also provided.
    • 1905, H. A. Vachell, Hill, section I:
      We call a tub a tosh.
  5. (cricket, slang, derogatory, uncountable) Easy bowling
    • 1898 June 25, Tit-Bits, 252/3
      Among the recent neologisms of the cricket field is ‘tosh’, which means bowling of contemptible easiness.
  6. (UK, humorous slang, uncountable) Used as a form of address.
    • 1954, E. Hyams, Stories & Cream, section 175:
      'Ere, tosh, you bin at Cha'ham?
Derived terms[edit]


tosh (third-person singular simple present toshes, present participle toshing, simple past and past participle toshed)

  1. (British, obsolete slang) To steal copper, particularly from ship hulls
    • 1867, W. H. Smyth, Sailor's Word-book:
    • Toshing, a cant word for stealing copper sheathing from vessels' bottoms, or from dock-yard stores.
  2. (chiefly British, uncommon slang) To search for valuables in sewers
    • 1974, J. Aiken, Midnight is Place, vi. 180:
      You tend to the toshing, let Mester Hobday tend to the dealing.
  3. (UK, archaic school slang) To use a tosh-pan, either to wash, to splash, or to "bath"
    • 1883, J.P. Groves, From Cadet to Captain, iii. 227:
      Toshing’ was the name given to a punishment inflicted by the cadets on any one of their number who made himself obnoxious. The victim, dressed in full uniform, was forced to run the gauntlet of his brother cadets, who, as he passed, emptied the contents of their ‘tosh-cans’ (small baths holding about three gallons of water) over the wretched lad's head.
    • 1903, J. S. Farmer et al., Slang, VII. 171/1:
      He toshed his house beak by mistake, and got three hundred.

Etymology 2[edit]

Compare Old French tonce (shorn, clipped) and English tonsure.


tosh (comparative tosher, superlative toshest)

  1. (Scotland, obsolete) Tight.
    • 1776, D. Herd, Ancient & Modern Scottish Songs:
      Tosh, tight, neat.
  2. (Scotland) Neat, clean; tidy, trim.
  3. (Scotland) Comfortable, agreeable; friendly, intimate.
    • 1821, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 10 4:
      We were a very tosh and agreeable company.
Derived terms[edit]


tosh (comparative more tosh, superlative most tosh)

  1. (Scotland) Toshly: neatly, tidily
    • 1808, J. Mayne, Siller Gun, i. 20:
      Shouther your arms!—O! had them tosh on, And not athraw!


tosh (third-person singular simple present toshes, present participle toshing, simple past and past participle toshed)

  1. (Scotland) To make ‘tosh’: to tidy, to trim.
    • 1826 November, J. Wilson, Noctes Ambrosianae, xxix, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 788
      Hoo she wad try to tosh up... her breest.

Etymology 3[edit]

From 19th-century British slang tosheroon, from or alongside tusheroon, of uncertain derivation from British slang caroon (crown, a 5-shilling silver coin), from Sabir and (originally) Italian corona (crown). The term was either derived from or influenced by madza caroon, the British slang for the Sabir and Italian mezzo corona (half-crown), possibly under influence from tosh (copper items; valuables) above or from the half-crown's value of two shillings & sixpence.

Alternative forms[edit]


tosh (countable and uncountable, plural toshes)

  1. (British, obsolete slang, countable) A half-crown coin; its value
    • 1961, Eric Partridge, The Routledge Dictionary of Historical Slang:
      tush or tosh. Money: Cockney: late C.19–20. Ex: tusheroon... But H. errs, I believe: he should mean half-a-crown, for tusheroon and its C.20 variant tossaroon (2s. 6d.) are manifest corruptions of Lingua Franca MADZA CAROON.
    • 1961, J. Maclaren-Ross, Doomsday Book, i. v. 63:
      Here's a tosh to buy yourself some beer.
  2. (British, obsolete slang, countable) A crown coin; its value
  3. (British, archaic slang, uncountable) Any money, particularly pre-decimalization British coinage





From Proto-Turkic *tiāĺ.


tosh (plural toshlar)

  1. stone (small piece of stone)