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toy with (third-person singular simple present toys with, present participle toying with, simple past and past participle toyed with)

  1. To handle something in a careless or frivolous manner.
    You shouldn't toy with someone's feelings.
    • 2013, Daniel Taylor, Steven Gerrard goal against Poland ensures England will go to World Cup (in The Guardian, 15 October 2013)[1]
      Roy Hodgson's team had toyed with everyone's nerves. They had come across a Poland side that gave everything on a night when Wembley often sounded more like Warsaw, and Gerrard's late, decisive strike came at a stage of the night when England's management was thinking about little more than protecting Wayne Rooney's first-half goal.
  2. To play, especially with or as with a toy.