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We've already chosen the domain name for a new info blog website called InfoToss. In US English, it doesn’t have any crazy slang meaning, and we didn’t think to check for other regional meanings because we didn’t think we would expand, so we went ahead and designed the site and logo. Things have changed, and now we’d like to expand and target a UK audience as well.

However, after doing more research, we’ve learned that in British slang, toss can mean something other than just throwing something (see Urban Dictionary if you didn’t know).

So, my question is: How popular is this slang usage in British English? Would it be overly inappropriate for the domain to be InfoToss? Or would it be just a little edgy?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Sep 12 '17 at 23:03
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I don't give a toss about hearing the word "toss", so I suggest there's no need to toss your existing domain and branding away. Although we could, of course, argue the toss about it all day.

"Toss" has many meanings. Most are not vulgar. I don't instantly think of the vulgar one whenever I hear the word. Sure I can think of it, but then there are vulgarities everywhere which (once past the age of about 18) we can learn to ignore. I'm sure chemists don't giggle whenever they read about titration, and I'm quite capable of talking about the country without concentrating on the first syllable.


All that said, Experts Exchange changed their website's address from expertsexchange.com to experts-exchange.com, because people realised the original could be read as ExpertSexChange.com (Wikipedia reference).

36

It's not "inappropriate" (what does that even mean on the internet?) - but to a British person it does sound like "InfoWank".

Wank means "to masturbate" but is also used (by extension) to describe something that is useless, self-indulgent and a bit pitiful. So, many people would read it as a (probably ironic) self-deprecating insult. That might be what you want: it really depends on your target audience.

  • OP was asking for British perspective, but as an American I had pretty much the same reaction as this. – industry7 Sep 14 '17 at 17:19
22

It's common enough that it could certainly come to mind.

There's also a sense where one does not "give a toss" about something one does not care about.

Even the more polite sense of "throw" conveys a lack of care or consideration. If you are just tossing something, why should I bother to read it?

  • 7
    Exactly. It's not so much that I'd be thinking "Hahahaha, InfoWank!" It's just that I can't think of any positive connotation of the term. – David Richerby Sep 12 '17 at 20:24
  • 2
    There is no positive connotation. – theonlygusti Sep 12 '17 at 21:34
  • 1
    Even if I didn't think of the worse connotations first (a big "if"), the casual "throw without care" meaning would prime me to expect a collection of trivial inanities "thrown out" by all and sundry - so I'd probably not bother visiting. – TripeHound Sep 13 '17 at 1:08
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It would make me laugh like a drain, whether because it means "masturbate" (which it does) or because of the phrase "I don't give a toss", meaning "I couldn't care less. (I know that Americans say "I could care less", but that is completely illogical.)

(Actually, the phrase for "masturbate' is "toss off", rather than "toss".) Google "Modern Toss", which is a cartoon strip.

And "a tosser" is a berk. Or a twat. or a knobhead. Or a pillock. Or a bellend.

In Scotland, they toss the caber. This is very energetic. You can Google that too.

4

I'm a native speaker of British English.

I'd say that phrases like "don't give a toss" and "what a tosser", while not the sort of thing one would use in a formal letter, aren't offensive or even really vulgar - they're just colloquial, in the same sort of category as "silly sod" (another Britishism - I can't think of a good US English equivalent offhand). I never think of the original masturbation meaning when using the word, and these days I doubt many people do. It's become a general mild swear word and lost its connection to its original vulgar meaning. So you don't have to worry about the name being offensive.

Also, as others have pointed out, there are many meanings of the word "toss". When I see the phrase "InfoToss", the first thing I'd think of would probably be "toss" as in tossing a pancake. There will always be people who can titter and snigger over almost any word, but that usually says more about them than it does about your choice of word. If it wasn't "toss", it'd be something else. So I'd say don't worry about the name distracting people either.

  • It says more about the person than the choice of word? Yes. For example someone who loves puns (like me). There are many other reasons though. As for me when I first saw this question I laughed out loud because I knew very well what their concern was. And frankly if rubber (for one example) means something sexual in American English and everyone has to be careful over that then I don't see why Americans shouldn't have to be careful over this. Of course I cringe at many Americanisms so I certainly am extra biased here but still people ought to plan better (1/2) – Pryftan Dec 4 '18 at 1:38
  • To be fair though I can see how this could easily happen. It's rather ironic and to me very amusing but as I said I am also biased and I’m far too easily amused (something that I always have been and it's a great coping skill too and that's something I tend to need). Of course techies tend to see these types of things all over so it's even more amusing (to me). Either way it will of course vary what people think of and the best way to deal with it would probably be to come (ha) with a story/explanation/something behind it - just in case. (2/2) – Pryftan Dec 4 '18 at 1:39
3

To be absolutely clear, a "Tosspot" is a drunkard; one who tosses the pot excessively.

A tosser is (implicitly) a gentleman who commits the sin of Onan (OK I know Onan didn't do it but onanism is generally perceived to be pulling the plonker). Or as less politely described, a wanker.

Tossing the caber involves throwing a large, heavy tree trunk and apart from silly English jokes is not usually associated with self abuse - but there are over 60 million English and around 5 million Scots.

Having said that, if you have a memorable phrase, you have a memorable phrase; tossers have money too and can perhaps recollect self referential material.

So to answer your question specifically, it may or not be overly inappropriate depending on the market that you are targeting - and that is now a more informed choice from the replies to your question than it probably was, previously.

  • "toss" is also a noun, and an adjective. "This question is toss" (adj), or "These answers are all a load of toss" (n). Regarding "there are over 60 million English and around 5 million Scots" - and I'm sure the West Lothian Question has been described as "toss". – Rich Sep 13 '17 at 23:59
0

I can't speak for everyone, but at least in my age bracket (25-30) we very rarely use the word 'toss', and wouldn't really think twice about it. I do know what it can mean, but I'm just saying it wouldn't be my first thought.

I'd say you'd be completely fine.

  • 1
    What region are you from, though? – filistinist Sep 12 '17 at 22:54
  • You start by saying "I can't speak for everyone" and then end with "I'd say you'd be completely fine" !? – ekhumoro Sep 13 '17 at 16:08

protected by tchrist Sep 12 '17 at 23:03

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