Definition of toggle in English:



  • 1A short rod of wood or plastic sewn to one side of a coat or other garment, pushed through a hole or loop on the other side and twisted so as to act as a fastener.

    • ‘A drawstring at the waist, hood, or neck on clothing can catch in a small gap in playground equipment, a bus handrail, or on a bolt, and a drawstring with a large toggle or knot at the end is most likely to get caught.’
    • ‘The Romans used buttons only as ornaments and even the ancient Chinese never progressed beyond the toggle and loop.’
    • ‘He played with a tassel in each hand, sometimes nervously chewing the toggles.’
    • ‘Glaswegians everywhere were celebrating the arrival of the fine weather by undoing the top toggle on their duffel-coats.’
    • ‘She is wearing a silly hat with toggles on either side, and these dance and jiggle the more aggressive she becomes.’
    • ‘Bone and antler were used to make dress-pins, hair combs, toggles, needle-cases, handles for iron knives, awls and other domestic equipment.’
    • ‘Duffle coat toggles used to be made from such nuts.’
    • ‘Netsuke are toggles worn by Japanese men of the upper classes.’
    • ‘Just as the Japanese used netsuke toggles to fasten their kimonos, the Inuit hung theirs from hunting equipment to placate the animal spirits for past catches.’
    • ‘But she was fastened into her duties like a toggle into a duffel coat.’
    • ‘Repeat to add toggles to the remaining four patches with matching grainlines.’
    • ‘Why don't you do the toggles up and keep us really warm?’
    • ‘At Hemp Knoll the bone toggle had been broken and subsequently decorated, suggesting a long history of use before being sewn onto the clothing or shroud of the deceased.’
    • ‘They served as belt toggles to hold containers for tobacco, money and other objects that would be carried on the cloth belt or girdle, as the kimono had no pockets.’
    • ‘Velcro, toggles, hidden buttons and magnets are the added details that set this season apart from the last.’
    • ‘The netsuke with two openings for the string to pass, acted as a toggle to prevent the sagemono (everything hanging from the sash) from slipping down from the obi.’
    • ‘When Adam had received a cut, after being hit in the eye by a duffel coat toggle, action had been taken.’
    • ‘It was fastened by a sash and personal items were carried in small containers known as inro, which hung from the sash, secured by toggles - netsuke.’
    • ‘Jenny points to the popularity of hoods, vests, trainers and toggles in today's fashions.’
    fastener, stud, link, toggle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A pin or other crosspiece put through the eye of a rope or a link of a chain to keep it in place.
      • ‘This toggle holds the necklace together when it's passed through the clay loop.’
    2. 1.2A kind of wall fastener for use on open-backed plasterboard, having a part that springs open or turns through 90° after it is inserted so as to prevent withdrawal.
      • ‘Assemble the object on the bolt and push the toggle into the hole until you can feel it spring open.’
      • ‘Insert this toggle bolt in the pilot hole, pull the strap tight to lock the anchor in place, then snap off the strap.’
      • ‘Secure the track along its length with either toggle bolts or screws.’
      • ‘Heavier objects can be supported with a molly style hollow wall fastener, a spiral threaded fastener, or a toggle bolt.’
      • ‘Using the principle of a toggle bolt, each gripper would enter the hole flat and then spring open.’
      • ‘If only one stud is located behind a unit, add a toggle bolt as an additional fastener.’
      • ‘If you are unable to screw directly into the ceiling joists, the use of toggle bolts is permitted.’
      • ‘Toggle bolts have a butterfly back that falls off when unscrewed.’
      • ‘Now, slowly drill through the tape, the tile and the wall behind it until you hit air; stick the toggle bolts through, fasten them to your accessories and you're finished.’
      • ‘If you happen to hit framing while drilling, use a screw instead of a toggle bolt at that location.’
      • ‘Toggle bolts must be used in areas where access to the ceiling joists is not possible.’
    3. 1.3A movable pivoted crosspiece acting as a barb on a harpoon.
  • 2Computing
    A key or command that is operated the same way but with opposite effect on successive occasions.

    • ‘It's quite sad how often it becomes necessary to hunt through the Options screen and hope beyond hope that there's a Voice On / Off toggle switch lurking there somewhere.’
    • ‘Five clearly visible control buttons and an on/off power toggle are located on the lower-right corner of the monitor's thin bezel.’
    • ‘One of the control buttons is a toggle for the SuperBright feature (on, off, and movie), another button is a reset, and the remaining buttons control the menu system.’
    • ‘The mixer application includes a nice feature for headphone use: a toggle switch turns on a small pre-amp that boosts signal output.’
    • ‘These include a power toggle with an LED power indicator, an input toggle to choose which video feed is functional, and an on-screen menu on/off switch.’


  • 1Computing
    [no object, with adverbial] Switch from one effect, feature, or state to another by using a toggle.

    ‘the play/pause button toggles between those functions’
    [with object] ‘there are a number of attributes which can be toggled on or off’
    • ‘One button toggles power on and off, another resets the display, and one exits the on-screen menu.’
    • ‘The pilot will be able to use the touch-screen, manually toggle through the screens using the buttons on the throttle and side-stick controller or use a voice recognition system.’
    • ‘I could print or save this graph and toggle 3 - D mode on and off.’
    • ‘While you are typing, there's a button which toggles between CAPS, lower case, numbers, and punctuation modes.’
    • ‘If you want to go back to add or amend what you've written, simply toggle through the pages on the little digital display and then carry on writing on the page in question.’
  • 2[with object] Provide or fasten with a toggle or toggles.

    ‘our horses were hobbled or toggled before they were turned out to graze’
    ‘a toggled coat’


Mid 18th century (originally in nautical use): of unknown origin.