Throw or toss someone a bone

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Throw or toss someone a bone is an idiom with an uncertain origin. We will examine the meaning of the idiom throw or toss someone a bone, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

To throw or toss someone a bone means to make a small concession, to give someone a trivial bit of information, an insignificant item, or a meaningless rank in order to placate him. To throw or toss someone a bone by bestowing a small favor is like throwing a bone to a howling dog. The idea is simply to quiet the dog, not to give him a healthy meal that is good for him. The origin of this idiom is unknown. Throw someone a bone is about twice as popular as toss someone a bone. Related phrases are throws or tosses someone a bone, threw or tossed someone a bone, throwing or tossing someone a bone.


“Brooker’s another one who really just threw me a bone I never would have thought I deserved, you know?” (Vanity Fair Magazine)

It wasn’t just busy work to throw him a bone, nor to keep him from yearning for a few trips around the lake. (The Times-Union)

If upgrades have held you back from iCloud, then Apple is throwing you a bone. (Business Insider)

As farmers deal with the fallout of California’s decision to outlaw chlorpyrifos, the governor’s May budget revision threw them a bone. (The Daily Democrat)