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verb (used with object), fagged, fag·ging.
  1. to tire or weary by labor; exhaust (often followed by out): The long climb fagged us out.
  2. British. to require (a younger public-school pupil) to do menial chores.
  3. Nautical. to fray or unlay the end of (a rope).
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verb (used without object), fagged, fag·ging.
  1. Chiefly British. to work until wearied; work hard: to fag away at French.
  2. British Informal. to do menial chores for an older public-school pupil.
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  1. Slang. a cigarette.
  2. a fag end, as of cloth.
  3. a rough or defective spot in a woven fabric; blemish; flaw.
  4. Chiefly British. drudgery; toil.
  5. British Informal. a younger pupil in a British public school required to perform certain menial tasks for, and submit to the hazing of, an older pupil.
  6. a drudge.
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Origin of fag1

1425–75; late Middle English fagge broken thread in cloth, loose end (of obscure origin); sense development apparently: drooping end > to droop, tire > to make weary > drudgery, drudge (compare relationship of flag1 to flag3); (def 6) a shortening of fag end (a butt, hence a cigarette)
Related formsun·fagged, adjective


noun Slang.
  1. Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a male homosexual.
  2. Offensive. a contemptible or dislikable person.
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Origin of fag2

An Americanism dating back to 1920–25; by shortening
Related formsfag·gish, adjective

Usage alert

The terms faggot and fag are both used with disparaging intent and are perceived as highly insulting. However, faggot (but not fag ) is sometimes used within the gay community as a positive term of self-reference.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for fag

Historical Examples

  • Fag in mouth he dozed, was startled into wakefulness by a call from the Padre.

    Norman Ten Hundred

    A. Stanley Blicq

  • FAG, a schoolboy who performs a servants offices to a superior school-mate.

  • Fagg′oting, Fag′oting, a kind of embroidery in which some of the cross-threads are drawn together in the middle.

  • Sentimental writers have gushed over the beautiful relation which it establishes between Fag-Master and Fag.

    Seeing and Hearing

    George W. E. Russell

  • Fag Alley was reached and in its vicinity several machine guns were captured, and the teams either killed or taken prisoners.

    The Story of the "9th King's" in France

    Enos Herbert Glynne Roberts

British Dictionary definitions for fag


  1. informal a boring or wearisome taskit's a fag having to walk all that way
  2. British (esp formerly) a young public school boy who performs menial chores for an older boy or prefect
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verb fags, fagging or fagged
  1. (when tr, often foll by out) informal to become or cause to become exhausted by hard toil or work
  2. (usually intr) British to do or cause to do menial chores in a public schoolBrown fags for Lee
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Word Origin

C18: of obscure origin


  1. British a slang word for cigarette
  2. a fag end, as of cloth
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Word Origin

C16 (in the sense: something hanging loose, flap): of obscure origin


  1. slang, mainly US and Canadian short for faggot 2
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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 fag


"to droop, decline, tire," 1520s, apparently an alteration of flag (v.) in its sense of "droop." Transitive sense of "to make (someone or something) fatigued" is first attested 1826. Related: Fagged; fagging.

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British slang for "cigarette" (originally, especially, the butt of a smoked cigarette), 1888, probably from fag-end "extreme end, loose piece" (1610s), from fag "loose piece" (late 15c.), which is perhaps related to fag (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper