One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The male of various animals, especially a domestic cat.
cat, domestic cat, wild cat, alley cat, kittenView synonyms
- ‘The kittens would follow the tom around and when we trapped the last one of them he cried at our door for two days.’
- ‘While hens usually travel together, toms roam either in separate flocks or alone.’
- ‘Fritz is a ginger tom of nine and a half months.’
- ‘The four-year-old ginger tom moved to the town with owner Sara in January.’
- ‘You will find that the tom will stop spraying his smelly urine to mark his territory.’
- ‘There are tabbies and toms in white, black, grey and ginger.’
- ‘And spaying for females is the same: they remove the whole plumbing system to keep the animal from going into heat and attracting toms and annoying its owner.’
- ‘In the same week a ginger tom called Bat was accused of attacking postmen in Kent.’
- ‘While the tabby slumped down to mew her pain the tom rampaged among the females and the other nestlings, tearing throats, breaking knees and elbows, and tossing the smaller ones against the closet wall.’
- ‘The hens would be in the low teens, 16 or 17 pounds, and the toms would dress out at 28 pounds.’
- ‘The resulting difference in size between males, or toms, and females, or hens, requires producers to rely solely on artificial insemination for reproduction.’
- ‘The tom met with an unfortunate accident - sadly after I chased him out of the house he bolted in front of a car.’
- ‘I donate financially, and have purchased two rescued cats (one adult tom, and one kitten) from you.’
- ‘If the problem is hormone related then neutering is usually an effective solution, especially with troublesome toms!’
- ‘Some male wildcats mate with domestic females, but the half-breeds rarely survive either because the wild tom returns to kill the kittens as soon as they are born, or householders distrusting their untameable reputation do the same.’
- ‘Susie took up with a local tom and had a litter of two, a male and a female.’
2British informal A female prostitute.
3TomUS informalshort for Uncle Tom
1be tommingBritish Work as a prostitute.‘Roscoe is tomming around now’
- ‘I took off my headphones and listened as he asked, ‘Are you tomming tonight?’’
2US (of a black person) behave in an excessively obedient or servile way.‘it was insulting to hold out my hand and have a clerk bang the money down—I'd tommed again’work as a prostitute, prostitute oneself, sell one's body, sell oneself, walk the streets, be on the streets, solicit, work in the sex industryView synonyms
Late Middle English (denoting an ordinary man, surviving in tomfool, tomboy, and the phrase Tom, Dick, and Harry): abbreviation of the given name Thomas. tom (sense 1 of the noun) dates from the mid 18th century.
- short for tomato
- ‘Liquidise ripe toms with red onion, cucumber, red pepper, extra virgin olive oil, sherry or balsamic vinegar and chill to let the flavours develop.’
- ‘There's only one thing that will revive the toms, courgettes, rocket, spinach and fennel - pelletised chicken manure.’
- ‘A topping of onion marmalade, reasonable toms and fresh, herby ricotta couldn't rescue it.’
- short for tom-tom
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