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noun Metalworking.
  1. (in the rolls of a rolling mill) corrugations affording a grip on a piece being roughed.

Origin of ragging


verb (used with object), ragged, rag·ging.
  1. to scold.
  2. to subject to a teasing, especially in an intense or prolonged way (often followed by on): Some of the boys were ragging on him about his haircut.
  3. British. to torment with jokes; play crude practical jokes on.
  1. British. an act of ragging.

Origin of rag2

First recorded in 1790–1800; origin uncertain


verb (used with object), ragged, rag·ging.
  1. to break up (lumps of ore) for sorting.

Origin of rag3

First recorded in 1870–75; origin uncertain


  1. a musical composition in ragtime: a piano rag.
verb (used with object), ragged, rag·ging.
  1. to play (music) in ragtime.

Origin of rag4

First recorded in 1895–1900; shortened form of ragtime
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ragging

Historical Examples

  • The farce of their performance is heightened by ragging from the courtiers.

    William Shakespeare

    John Masefield

  • They lay there for few minutes, talking and ragging aimlessly.

    The Longest Journey

    E. M. Forster

  • Refusing to say 'Good night' to the beast because he was ragging me.

    The Hill

    Horace Annesley Vachell

  • We got ragging over the dessert and Mrs. Rose stole my grapes——?

    The Making of a Soul

    Kathlyn Rhodes

  • That's Netta's fault; she starts all the ragging and throws it on to Gwen.

British Dictionary definitions for ragging


    1. a small piece of cloth, such as one torn from a discarded garment, or such pieces of cloth collectively
    2. (as modifier)a rag doll; a rag book; rag paper
  1. a fragmentary piece of any material; scrap; shred
  2. informal a newspaper or other journal, esp one considered as worthless, sensational, etc
  3. informal an item of clothing
  4. informal a handkerchief
  5. British slang esp nautical a flag or ensign
  6. lose one's rag to lose one's temper suddenly
See also rags

Word Origin

C14: probably back formation from ragged, from Old English raggig; related to Old Norse rögg tuft


verb rags, ragging or ragged (tr)
  1. to draw attention facetiously and persistently to the shortcomings or alleged shortcomings of (a person)
  2. British to play rough practical jokes on
  1. British a boisterous practical joke, esp one on a fellow student
  2. (in British universities)
    1. a period, usually a week, in which various events are organized to raise money for charity, including a procession of decorated floats and tableaux
    2. (as modifier)rag day

Word Origin

C18: of uncertain origin


  1. a piece of ragtime music
verb rags, ragging or ragged
  1. (tr) to compose or perform in ragtime

Word Origin

C20: shortened from ragtime


  1. a roofing slate that is rough on one side

Word Origin

C13: of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ragging



scrap of cloth, early 14c., probably from Old Norse rögg "shaggy tuft," earlier raggw-, or possibly from Old Danish rag (see rug), or a back-formation from ragged, It also may represent an unrecorded Old English cognate of Old Norse rögg. Watkins traces the Old Norse word through Proto-Germanic *rawwa-, from PIE root *reue- "to smash, knock down, tear up, uproot" (see rough (adj.)).

As an insulting term for "newspaper, magazine" it dates from 1734; slang for "tampon, sanitary napkin" is attested from 1930s (on the rag "menstruating" is from 1948). Rags "personal clothing" is from 1855 (singular), American English. Rags-to-riches "rise from poverty to wealth" is attested by 1896. Rag-picker is from 1860; rag-shop from 1829.



"scold," 1739, of unknown origin; perhaps related to Danish dialectal rag "grudge." Related: Ragged; ragging. Cf. bullyrag, ballarag "intimidate" (1807).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with ragging


In addition to the idiom beginning with rag

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.