toy 1 /tɔɪ/ ●●● S3 noun [countable]

1 an object for children to play with

some toys for the baby

toy car/soldier/gun etc

soft/cuddly toy British English (=a toy that looks like an animal and is covered in fur)

Annie was playing happily with her toys.

Ngram found "play with toy cars" but not "play with car toys".

So, it seems "toy cars" is the right one, but we can find a lot of "car toys" phrase on the internet.

Are they they same?

1 Answer 1


They're not the same, and your search link demonstrates the difference nicely:

  • Toy cars are toys which are miniature cars, such as "Hot Wheels," which children play with.

  • Car toys are toys intended for use in a car. My children have a whole bag of car toys which we can take in the car on trips. Some of the toys are in fact toy cars, but also small games, puzzles and so on. "Toy" can also be used in a slightly ironic sense to refer to gadgets that adults like to "play with." The company "Car Toys" which appears prominently in your search results is a manufacturer of "cool" or "fun" devices like video players, navigation systems, alarm systems and so on.

In general, the pattern "toy X" often means a toy version of an X: toy train, toy house, etc. But not always: a toy box is a box full of toys; a toy store is (usually) a retail business that sells toys.

  • Also, a lot of your search results for 'car toys' are links to shopping websites, where the text below actually says 'toy cars'. The 'toys' section of each website is subdivided by type of toy, and the 'car' subsection is for toy vehicles. Jan 28, 2020 at 9:10

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