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While the word Frisbee is claimed as a trademark of the Wham-O toy company, the term is often used generically to describe flying discs similar to those made by that company. They are generally plastic, roughly 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm) in diameter, with a lip. They are designed to fly aerodynamically when thrown with rotation and can be caught by hand.

The shape and quality of frisbees varies significantly, a high quality frisbee easily flies several times as far as a cheap frisbee. Disc golf disks are usually smaller in diameter but more dense and are tailored for particular flight profiles such as stability or distance. When it was discovered that dogs enjoyed chasing and retrieving the slow moving discs, special frisbees were eventually designed with more pliable material that would more resistant to damage when the dog caught one in its mouth.

Many frisbee-like discs are shaped like a frisbee with a large hole in the centre, such discs known as aerofoils typically fly significantly farther.

The Flyin-Saucer, originally invented by Walter Frederick Morrison and codeveloped and financed by Warren Franscioni in 1948, was unsuccessful, but a later model made by Morrison in 1955 and sold as the "Pluto Platter" was bought by Wham-O in 1957. Wham-O renamed the toy in 1958 to "Frisbee", a (probably deliberate) misspelling of the name of the Frisbie Pie Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut, whose pie tins had been used by college students in the area for similar purposes. The first flying disks were produced on January 13, 1957.

Upon his death, Morrison was cremated and his ashes turned into Frisbees.

Frisbee Games