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Etymology 1[edit]

From 19th century British thieves' cant tosh (copper; items made of copper) + -er (one who uses or acquires).


tosher (plural toshers)

  1. (historical, cant) A thief who steals the copper siding from the bottoms of vessels, particularly in or along the Thames.
    • 1859, J.C. Hotten, A dictionary of modern slang, cant, and vulgar words used at the present day, preceded by a history of cant and vulgar language, with glossaries of two secret languages, by a London antiquary
      Toshers, men who steal copper from ships' bottoms in the Thames.
  2. (chiefly historical) A scavenger of valuables lost in the sewers, particularly those of London during the Victorian Age.
    • 1851, H. Mayhew, London labour and the London poor, II. 150/2
      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.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

See tosh.



  1. comparative form of tosh: more tosh