rag

1
[ rag ]
/ ræg /
|

noun

Idioms

    chew the rag. chew(def 11).
    from rags to riches, from extreme poverty to great wealth: He went from rags to riches in only three years.

Origin of rag

1
1275–1325; Middle English ragge < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian, Swedish ragg coarse hair < Old Norse rǫgg
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for from rags to riches (1 of 4)

rag

1
/ (ræɡ) /

noun


See also rags

Word Origin for rag

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

British Dictionary definitions for from rags to riches (2 of 4)

rag

2
/ (ræɡ) /

verb rags, ragging or ragged (tr)

to draw attention facetiously and persistently to the shortcomings or alleged shortcomings of (a person)
British to play rough practical jokes on

noun

British a boisterous practical joke, esp one on a fellow student
(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 for rag

C18: of uncertain origin

British Dictionary definitions for from rags to riches (3 of 4)

rag

3
/ (ræɡ) jazz /

noun

a piece of ragtime music

verb rags, ragging or ragged

(tr) to compose or perform in ragtime

Word Origin for rag

C20: shortened from ragtime

British Dictionary definitions for from rags to riches (4 of 4)

rag

4
/ (ræɡ) /

noun

a roofing slate that is rough on one side

Word Origin for rag

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

Idioms and Phrases with from rags to riches (1 of 2)

from rags to riches

From being poor to being wealthy, especially through one's own efforts. For example, The invention catapulted the scientist from rags to riches. Horatio Alger (1834–1899) popularized this theme in some 130 best-selling novels, in which the hero, through hard work and thrift, pulled himself out of poverty to wealth and happiness.


Idioms and Phrases with from rags to riches (2 of 2)

rag

In addition to the idiom beginning with rag

  • rag doll

also see:

  • chew the fat (rag)
  • from rags to riches
  • glad rags
  • run ragged

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