This is probably not news to folks on the right [[not necessarily correct]] side of the ditch, but it is news to me.
COLLINS DICTIONARY<2015 “Whether because of the resemblance to Mathew, or because he had taken Strike’s chair, or because Strike genuinely senses a tosser when he saw one, Strike found the youth obscurely objectionable.”—Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling), page 58>
TOSSER noun (British, slang) A stupid or despicable person.
Word Origin: C20: probably from toss off (to masturbate)
1) (Britain, slang) A male who masturbates [[excessively?]].
2 (Britain, slang) An objectionable male, often somewhat obnoxious in demeanor.
<That bloke who ripped me off was a right tosser.>
TOSSER noun: British vulgar slang A person who masturbates (used as a general term of abuse).
OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY
TOSSER noun: A term of contempt or abuse for a person; a ‘jerk’. [probably from the senses to masturbate]
I rarely refer to the Urban Dictionary with its heavy weight of unreviewed dross, but I think they offer a good feel for this one, which has proved hard (at least for me) to put my finger on with its multitude of interpretations:
TOSSER: Literally, one who masturbates [[Seems to me that masturbation has got a bum rap, but I guess it ain,t what it used to be with the threat of blindness, pimples, mental illness, . . .]] Common usage typically refers to anyone of whom you have a low opinion.
Some Words and Descriptions Related to Tosser: wanker, idiot, twat, cunt, loser, dickhead, prick, asshole, jerk, fool, moron, dick, bastard, bullshitter; the word tosser describes a person with a tendency to show off or brag in an excessive and embarrassing way; someone who is loud and rude.
<Well at first I thought this guy delivers, but in the end he was just another tosser.>
The first quote is from the Oxford English Dictionary with the rest being from newspaper archives:
__________________________<1977 “She came on in a big mac and flashed her legs like an old tosser before throwing it off.”—Zigzag, April, page 43>
<1997 “Trustees who hand out lottery cash were yesterday branded middle- class tossers by a Labour MP."—Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland). 26 February>
<2003 “‘We have done nothing wrong and have nothing to fear.' He admitted that he had referred to members of the council as 'tossers', adding: ‘But that slipped out.’”—Daily Mail, 18 January>
<2008 “Killer Brian "Tosser" Meehan is suspected of being behind a massive arms and drugs haul seized by cops yesterday.”—Mirror (London), 3 September>
<2015 “Been at Alton Towers two mins and some tosser already ran my foot over with a pushchair.”—Birmingham Mail (England), 4 June>
Ken G – November 12, 2015
PS: Since I have no good native feel for the proper use of the word, additions, corrections, and clarifications are welcome.