c.1500, possibly from a Scandinavian source (cf. dialectal Norwegian tossa "to strew, spread"). Related: Tossed; tossing. Food preparation sense (with reference to salad, etc.) is recorded from 1723. The noun meaning "an act of throwing" is first recorded 1650s. Tosspot "heavy drinker" is from 1560s. Toss-up "even matter" first recorded 1809, from earlier sense of "a flipping of a coin to arrive at a decision" (c.1700). Tosser as a term of contempt in British slang is recorded from 1977, probably from slang toss off "masturbate" (1969); cf. jerk (n.).