Definition of toggle in US 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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Glaswegians everywhere were celebrating the arrival of the fine weather by undoing the top toggle on their duffel-coats.’
    • ‘Why don't you do the toggles up and keep us really warm?’
    • ‘Jenny points to the popularity of hoods, vests, trainers and toggles in today's fashions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Netsuke are toggles worn by Japanese men of the upper classes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Velcro, toggles, hidden buttons and magnets are the added details that set this season apart from the last.’
    • ‘Duffle coat toggles used to be made from such nuts.’
    • ‘But she was fastened into her duties like a toggle into a duffel coat.’
    • ‘The Romans used buttons only as ornaments and even the ancient Chinese never progressed beyond the toggle and loop.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He played with a tassel in each hand, sometimes nervously chewing the toggles.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Repeat to add toggles to the remaining four patches with matching grainlines.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When Adam had received a cut, after being hit in the eye by a duffel coat toggle, action had been taken.’
    fastener, stud, link
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A 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. 1.2 A kind of wall fastener for use on hollow walls, having a part that springs open or turns through 90° after it is inserted so as to prevent withdrawal.
      • ‘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 you happen to hit framing while drilling, use a screw instead of a toggle bolt at that location.’
      • ‘If you are unable to screw directly into the ceiling joists, the use of toggle bolts is permitted.’
      • ‘Secure the track along its length with either toggle bolts or screws.’
      • ‘Insert this toggle bolt in the pilot hole, pull the strap tight to lock the anchor in place, then snap off the strap.’
      • ‘If only one stud is located behind a unit, add a toggle bolt as an additional fastener.’
      • ‘Assemble the object on the bolt and push the toggle into the hole until you can feel it spring open.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Toggle bolts must be used in areas where access to the ceiling joists is not possible.’
      • ‘Toggle bolts have a butterfly back that falls off when unscrewed.’
    3. 1.3 A movable pivoted crosspiece acting as a barb on a harpoon.
  • 2Computing
    A key or command that toggles between two modes, such as the caps lock key.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The mixer application includes a nice feature for headphone use: a toggle switch turns on a small pre-amp that boosts signal output.’
    • ‘Five clearly visible control buttons and an on/off power toggle are located on the lower-right corner of the monitor's thin bezel.’
    • ‘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.

    • ‘While you are typing, there's a button which toggles between CAPS, lower case, numbers, and punctuation modes.’
    • ‘I could print or save this graph and toggle 3 - D mode on and off.’
    • ‘One button toggles power on and off, another resets the display, and one exits the on-screen menu.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2with object Provide or fasten with a toggle or toggles.


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