- to annoy by persistent faultfinding, complaints, or demands.
- to keep in a state of troubled awareness or anxiety, as a recurrent pain or problem: She had certain misgivings that nagged her.
- to find fault or complain in an irritating, wearisome, or relentless manner (often followed by at): If they start nagging at each other, I'm going home.
- to cause pain, discomfort, distress, depression, etc. (often followed by at): This headache has been nagging at me all day.
- Also nagger. a person who nags, especially habitually.
- an act or instance of nagging.
Origin of nag1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- an old, inferior, or worthless horse.
- Slang. any horse, especially a racehorse.
- a small riding horse or pony.
Origin of nag2
Examples from the Web for nag
Just the nag I want, Mr. Whittlesey; only I've no ready cash to pay for him.
If I tell you what I want to, will you promise not to pitch into me, and not to nag and poke fun?Cap'n Eri
Joseph Crosby Lincoln
I says, 'anything from plowing to threshing and nicking a nag's tail,' I says.A Son of Hagar
Sir Hall Caine
The poor ruffler was fallen into meditation, and noted not that his nag did no more than amble.The Tavern Knight
I heard that you were last seen eloping with Tim and my nag Bill.Mixed Faces
- to scold or annoy constantly
- (when intr, often foll by at) to be a constant source of discomfort or worry (to)toothache nagged him all day
- a person, esp a woman, who nags
- often derogatory a horse
- a small riding horse
Word Origin and History for nag
"annoy by scolding," 1828, originally a dialectal word meaning "to gnaw" (1825), probably ultimately from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse gnaga "to complain," literally "to bite, gnaw," dialectal Swedish and Norwegian nagga "to gnaw"), from Proto-Germanic *gnagan, related to Old English gnagan "to gnaw" (see gnaw). Related: Nagged; nagger; nagging.
"old horse," c.1400, nagge "small riding horse," of unknown origin, perhaps related to Dutch negge, neg (but these are more recent than the English word), perhaps related in either case to imitative neigh. Term of abuse is a transferred sense, first recorded 1590s.