send for a toss: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘send for a toss’ mean?

The idiom "send for a toss" means that something has been disrupted or thrown into chaos. It implies that a situation or plan has gone completely awry or off track.

Idiom Explorer

Origins Unraveled

The idiom "send for a toss" is a commonly used phrase that conveys a sense of disruption, chaos, or failure. It is an informal colloquial expression that is typically used in spoken language rather than formal writing. This idiom originated in Britain and is also used in the United States.

One interesting fact about this idiom is that the word "send" does not have its literal meaning of physically dispatching something. Instead, it is used metaphorically to indicate a situation or plan being disrupted or thrown into disorder. The word "toss" is also used metaphorically to signify a sudden and abrupt change or failure.

For example, imagine you have carefully planned a picnic in the park with your friends. You have packed all the necessary items and are excitedly looking forward to a fun day. However, the weather suddenly turns and it starts to rain heavily. Your plans are completely "sent for a toss" as you are unable to have the picnic as intended. The disruption and change in plans can be described using this idiomatic expression.

The phrase "send for a toss" is often used to describe a situation or set of circumstances that have gone awry or veered off course unexpectedly. It suggests a loss of control or the failure of plans. This idiom can be used in various scenarios, such as when plans are disrupted, expectations are not met, or sudden changes cause chaos.

For instance, imagine you are organizing a surprise birthday party for your friend. You have carefully planned every detail and are excited to see their surprise and joy. However, due to a miscommunication, your friend finds out about the party before the actual day. Your plans are "sent for a toss" as the element of surprise is ruined, and the party does not go as planned.

Toss the ball and send it flying!

Another related idiom that is synonymous with "send for a toss" is "mess up." Both idioms convey a sense of disruption or failure. "Mess up" is used to describe situations where something goes wrong or is done incorrectly, leading to a negative outcome.

When we think about the example of the surprise birthday party, not only were your plans "sent for a toss," but you also "messed up." The miscommunication that resulted in your friend finding out about the party early was a mistake or error that led to the failure of your initial plans.

Similarly, imagine you are preparing for an important presentation at work. You have rehearsed extensively and have all your materials ready. However, on the day of the presentation, you discover that the projector is not working. Your plans are "sent for a toss" as the unexpected technical issue has disrupted your presentation and caused chaos. In this situation, you can also say that things have "messed up."

Another related idiom that shares a similarity with "send for a toss" is "send away." This idiom implies that someone or something is being dismissed or sent elsewhere, often with the connotation of exclusion or rejection.

For instance, imagine you are working on a team project, and there is one team member who is consistently not meeting their deadlines and not contributing effectively. The rest of the team decides to "send them away" from the project, as their lack of participation is disrupting the team's progress. In this situation, the plans and coordination are being "sent for a toss" due to the team member's actions, and the team takes the decision to "send them away."

Overall, the idiom "send for a toss" is a valuable component of informal communication. It originated in Britain and is commonly used in both British and American English. This idiomatic expression adds richness to the language and allows for effective communication of disruptions, chaos, or failure. Understanding idioms like "send for a toss," along with related idioms such as "mess up" and "send away," can enhance one's grasp of colloquial English and enable better engagement in informal conversations.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "send for a toss" can be used in a sentence:

  • Her carefully organized plans were sent for a toss when the unexpected storm hit.
  • After the company lost its biggest client, their financial projections were sent for a toss.
  • His hopes of winning the race were sent for a toss when he tripped and fell just before the finish line.

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