– Martin Pengelly
“Tosser” is another word for “wanker” – the ur-British swearword, at least according to US sitcom writers. Both label the person at whom they are aimed as an idiot, fool, dimwit or general arse.
Like all such words, “tosser” can be used with modifiers or intensifiers. Thus, a commonly heard British phrase such as “bum-faced and entitled prime minister David Cameron is a tosser” might become “bum-faced and entitled prime minister David Cameron is a right tosser”. In this instance, “right” means “particular”, “especial” or “big”. See also “smug”, “Tory” and “fatuous”.
But so much for childish personal abuse. In terms of self>-abuse, both “tosser” and “wanker” refer to the practice of pleasuring one’s self – ie: masturbation, ie: “tossing” or “wanking” – which was hitherto believed to enfeeble the mind. So what goes around comes around. As it were.
Advantage: UK. We swear better.
(Special bonus fact extracted from a puerile mind: In the wartime Royal Air Force, “wanks” was a slang term for booze. Hence the common saying: “Can’t stop now, Carruthers old chap. I’m off for wanks with the Groupie.” “Groupie” meaning ‘group captain”, you see…)