Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

... Since there are only about 328 wolves in a state with a historic blood thirst for the hides of these top predators, the nonprofits are probably right that lacking protection, Wyoming wolves are toast.

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by Jim, StoneyB, RegDwigнt Sep 29 '12 at 17:06

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
thefreedictionary.com/toast : n. 2. Slang One that is doomed, in trouble, or unworthy of further consideration. –  Jim Sep 29 '12 at 16:32
    
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/toast –  RegDwigнt Sep 29 '12 at 17:06
    
A good dictionary starting point is OneLook. It is good site etiquette to do research before posting and include the results in the question. –  MετάEd Sep 29 '12 at 17:16
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Something “is toast” means it is destroyed (or nearly so). According to a grammarphobia blog the idiom dates from the 1984 movie Ghostbusters. Examples of recent use include headlines like “Mitt Romney Is Toast Without an October Surprise” (1). The quotation in the question means that wolves will have trouble surviving in Wyoming unless protection (such as bag limits) are put in place.

The grammarphobia blog says:

All this is explained in a note in the Oxford English Dictionary, which says the use of “toast” to mean “a person or thing that is defunct, dead, finished, in serious trouble, etc.,” originated with the movie.

share|improve this answer
    
@tchrist, perhaps check the OED ref; but otherwise I agree it seems like an older phrase –  jwpat7 Sep 29 '12 at 16:38
    
The Ghostbusters quote is uttered in reference to the Stay-Puft marshmallow man -- "toasted marshmallow" being the intended meaning. –  Roddy of the Frozen Peas Sep 29 '12 at 16:41
1  
This origin appears to be supported by the facts. I find no Google 2-grams for "is toast" in this sense before 1988, and the earliest ones explicitly refer to the line “this [or that] chick is toast!” uttered by Bill Murray in the movie Ghostbusters. –  MετάEd Sep 29 '12 at 17:28
add comment

"[something] is toast" is a metaphor that means that the subject is doomed. In the quote provided, "Wyoming wolves are toast" indicates that the species itself is doomed to be hunted to extinction for the reasons provided.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.