- a worthless piece of cloth, especially one that is torn or worn.
- rags, ragged or tattered clothing: The tramp was dressed in rags.
- any article of apparel regarded deprecatingly or self-deprecatingly, especially a dress: It's just an old rag I had in the closet.
- a shred, scrap, or fragmentary bit of anything.
- something of very low value or in very poor condition.
- a newspaper or magazine regarded with contempt or distaste: Are you still subscribing to that rag?
- a person of shabby or exhausted appearance.
- a large roofing slate that has one edge untrimmed.
- 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 rag1
- to scold.
- 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.
- British. to torment with jokes; play crude practical jokes on.
- British. an act of ragging.
Origin of rag2
- to break up (lumps of ore) for sorting.
Origin of rag3
- a musical composition in ragtime: a piano rag.
- to play (music) in ragtime.
Origin of rag4
Examples from the Web for rag
Then Ziegler tosses the buff LaBeouf around like a rag doll.Sia and Shia LaBeouf’s Pedophilia Nontroversy Over ‘Elastic Heart’
January 9, 2015
He stuck the barrel of the gun out his window and started wiping it down with a rag.A Shooting on a Tribal Land Uncovers Feds Running Wild
August 26, 2014
Urban children kick a can on concrete and rural kids kick a rag wrapped around a rag wrapped around a rag, barefoot, on dirt.Why Americans Should Love the World Cup
June 12, 2014
That Westbrook would be sitting front row at the Rag Bone and Altuzarra shows during New York Fashion Week?NBA Style: Full-Court Dress
May 11, 2014
The next photo: 389 stands holding hands with a man slightly out of frame—a giant of a man—whose eyes are blindfolded with a rag.Khmer Rouge’s Bloodiest Murderers on Trial
October 20, 2013
We set it, double-reefed, which made it but a rag of a sail, and yet the ship felt it directly.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
Every rag of raiment that man has on he stole from my husband's wardrobe at the Hall.In the Valley
You'll feel like a rag by to-morrow, and then I hope you'll take a good rest.The Harbor
Dra—— the owld man, but he'll have every rag off the back of me!The Macdermots of Ballycloran
"I suppose that depends on your definition of fame—and of a rag," Eric answered.The Education of Eric Lane
- a small piece of cloth, such as one torn from a discarded garment, or such pieces of cloth collectively
- (as modifier)a rag doll; a rag book; rag paper
- a fragmentary piece of any material; scrap; shred
- informal a newspaper or other journal, esp one considered as worthless, sensational, etc
- informal an item of clothing
- informal a handkerchief
- British slang esp nautical a flag or ensign
- lose one's rag to lose one's temper suddenly
- to draw attention facetiously and persistently to the shortcomings or alleged shortcomings of (a person)
- British to play rough practical jokes on
- British a boisterous practical joke, esp one on a fellow student
- (in British universities)
- a period, usually a week, in which various events are organized to raise money for charity, including a procession of decorated floats and tableaux
- (as modifier)rag day
- a piece of ragtime music
- (tr) to compose or perform in ragtime
- a roofing slate that is rough on one side
Word Origin and History for rag
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).
Idioms and Phrases with rag
In addition to the idiom beginning with rag
- rag doll
- chew the fat (rag)
- from rags to riches
- glad rags
- run ragged