• WordNet 3.6
    • n teetotum a conical child's plaything tapering to a steel point on which it can be made to spin "he got a bright red top and string for his birthday"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Teetotum A child's toy, somewhat resembling a top, and twirled by the fingers. "The staggerings of the gentleman . . . were like those of a teetotum nearly spent."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n teetotum See the extract.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
For T-totum,. It was used for playing games of chance, and was four-sided, one side having the letter T on it, standing for Latin totum, all, meaning, take all that is staked, whence the name. The other three sides each had a letter indicating an English or Latin word; as P meaning put down, N nothing or L. nil,H half. See Total


In literature:

We watched him spin round like a teetotum and kenned that he was bye with it.
"Mr. Standfast" by John Buchan
The Labour Members also believe; and tremble like a falling teetotum.
"Utopia of Usurers and other Essays" by Gilbert Keith Chesterton
I whirled on him like a teetotum.
"The Depot Master" by Joseph C. Lincoln
Ask Polly; she 'll spin you round like a teetotum.
"An Old-fashioned Girl" by Louisa May Alcott
A fellow must have some reward for making a teetotum of himself.
"Rose in Bloom" by Louisa May Alcott
I do not find fault, but you turn me about like a teetotum.
"The Wandering Jew, Complete" by Eugene Sue
When he was not a teetotum he was a windmill.
"Auld Licht Idylls" by J. M. Barrie
That'll suit our purpiss to a teetotum.
"The Death Shot" by Mayne Reid
I whirled on him like a teetotum.
"The Boy Scouts Book of Stories" by Various
It is startling to see the tiny thing whirl like a reckless young teetotum.
"Lotus Buds" by Amy Carmichael
Round and round it spun like a teetotum, moving as fast as the dancers did, but in the opposite direction.
"Yellow-Cap and Other Fairy-Stories For Children" by Julian Hawthorne
In order to hasten this, the boys even began to turn Bob around like a teetotum, until he said he was dizzy.
"The Boy Scouts in the Blue Ridge" by Herbert Carter
The teetotum, or spinning die, used in many modern games, was known in ancient times in China and Japan.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 4" by Various
I always introduce the teetotum when I want to be merry.
"Tales from Blackwood" by Various
The current ran swiftly and the excited men made their rafts swing round like teetotums.
"Life in an Indian Outpost" by Gordon Casserly
Bevan, striding forward, spun the housemaid round on her feet as if she were a teetotum.
"Miss Arnott's Marriage" by Richard Marsh
I spun round like a teetotum.
"The Twickenham Peerage" by Richard Marsh
Those children keep me in a whirl like a teetotum.
"In the Roar of the Sea" by Sabine Baring-Gould
A fellow must have some reward for making a teetotum of himself.
"Rose in Bloom" by Louisa May Alcott
These teetotums are largely used in the States to 'spin for drinks,' and a very favourite way of working them is as follows.
"Sharps and Flats" by John Nevil Maskelyne