a drag

A tedious experience, a bore, as in After several thousand times, signing your autograph can be a drag. This seemingly modern term was army slang during the Civil War. The allusion probably is to drag as something that impedes progress. [Colloquial; mid-1800s]

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