ragged or shabby; disheveled.
made up of mixed, often diverse, elements: a ragtag crowd.

Origin of ragtag

First recorded in 1880–85; rag1 + tag1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ragtag

Contemporary Examples of ragtag

Historical Examples of ragtag

  • Strange, too, he came of good family; good blood in his veins; and yet he seems to have gone right down with the ragtag.

  • Without the populace having any hand in it, the ragtag and bobtail of the strangers became bolder and shouted more and more.

    The Legend of Ulenspiegel

    Charles de Coster

  • To make myself amiable and pay court to all the ragtag and bobtail is not in my line.

British Dictionary definitions for ragtag



derogatory the common people; rabble (esp in the phrase ragtag and bobtail)

Word Origin for ragtag

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 ragtag

also rag-tag, "ragged people collectively," 1820, from rag (n.) + tag (n.); originally in expression rag-tag and bobtail "the rabble" (tag-rag and bobtail is found in 1650s), with bobtail an old 17c. word for "cur." Tag and rag was "very common in 16-17th c." [OED]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper