verb (used with object), tagged, tag·ging.

verb (used without object), tagged, tag·ging.

to follow closely; go along or about as a follower: to tag after someone; to tag along behind someone.
to write graffiti.

Origin of tag

1375–1425; late Middle English tagge (noun); cognate with Middle Low German, Norwegian tagge, Swedish tagg pointed protruding part; akin to tack1
Related formstag·ger, nountag·like, adjective




a children's game in which one player chases the others in an effort to touch one of them, who then takes the role of pursuer.
Baseball. an act or instance of tagging a base runner.

verb (used with object), tagged, tag·ging.

to touch in or as if in the game of tag.
  1. to touch (a base runner) with the ball held in the hand or glove.
  2. to hit (a pitched ball) solidly.
  3. to make a number of hits or runs as specified in batting against (a pitcher): They tagged him for two hits in the first and three hits and two runs in the third.
Boxing. to strike (an opponent) with a powerful blow.

Verb Phrases

tag up, Baseball. (of a base runner) to touch the base occupied before attempting to advance a base, after the catch of a fly ball: He tagged up and scored from third on a long fly to center.

Origin of tag

First recorded in 1730–40; perhaps special use of tag1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tag

Contemporary Examples of tag

Historical Examples of tag

  • Jon thumbed the tag out of his waist slot and handed it across the desk.

    The Velvet Glove

    Harry Harrison

  • This sketch should be made on the tag which is tied to the battery.

  • He laid his hand on the blanket from which he had picked the tag.

    The Mountain Divide

    Frank H. Spearman

  • It must be something to which you can tag Berkeley Square, or Belgravia.

    A Rent In A Cloud

    Charles James Lever

  • The game is to tag the other canoe by throwing this into it.

    Boy Scouts Handbook

    Boy Scouts of America

British Dictionary definitions for tag




a piece or strip of paper, plastic, leather, etc, for attaching to something by one end as a mark or labela price tag
Also called: electronic tag an electronic device worn, usually on the wrist or ankle, by an offender serving a noncustodial sentence, which monitors the offender's whereabouts by means of a link to a central computer through the telephone system
a small piece of material hanging from or loosely attached to a part or piece
a point of metal or other hard substance at the end of a cord, lace, etc, to prevent it from fraying and to facilitate threading
an epithet or verbal appendage, the refrain of a song, the moral of a fable, etc
a brief quotation, esp one in a foreign languagehis speech was interlarded with Horatian tags
  1. Also called: tag questiona clause added on to another clause to invite the hearer's agreement or conversational cooperation. Tags are usually in the form of a question with a pronoun as subject, the antecedent of which is the subject of the main clause; as isn't it in the bread is on the table, isn't it?
  2. a linguistic item added on to a sentence but not forming part of it, as John in are you there, John?
an ornamental flourish as at the end of a signature
the contrastingly coloured tip to an animal's tail
a matted lock of wool or hair
angling a strand of tinsel, wire, etc, tied to the body of an artificial fly
slang a graffito consisting of a nickname or personal symbol

verb tags, tagging or tagged (mainly tr)

to mark with a tag
to monitor the whereabouts of (an offender) by means of an electronic tag
to add or append as a tag
to supply (prose or blank verse) with rhymes
(intr; usually foll by on or along) to trail (behind)many small boys tagged on behind the procession
to name or call (someone something)they tagged him Lanky
to cut the tags of wool or hair from (an animal)
slang to paint one's tag on (a building, wall, etc)

Word Origin for tag

C15: of uncertain origin; related to Swedish tagg point, perhaps also to tack 1




Also called: tig a children's game in which one player chases the others in an attempt to catch one of them who will then become the chaser
the act of tagging one's partner in tag wrestling
(modifier) denoting or relating to a wrestling contest between two teams of two wrestlers, in which only one from each team may be in the ring at one time. The contestant outside the ring may change places with his team-mate inside the ring after touching his hand

verb tags, tagging or tagged (tr)

to catch (another child) in the game of tag
(in tag wrestling) to touch the hand of (one's partner)

Word Origin for tag

C18: perhaps from tag 1
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 tag

"small hanging piece from a garment," c.1400, perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Norwegian tagg "point, prong, barb," Swedish tagg "prickle, thorn," Middle Low German tagge "branch, twig, spike"); cognate with tack (n.1). Meaning "label" is first recorded 1835; sense of "automobile license plate" is recorded from 1935, originally underworld slang. Meaning "an epithet, popular designation" is recorded from 1961, hence slang verb meaning "to write graffiti in public places" (1990).


"children's game," 1738, perhaps a variation of Scot. tig "touch, tap" (1721), probably an alteration of Middle English tek "touch, tap" (see tick (2)).


"to furnish with a tag," mid-15c., from tag (n.1). Related: Tagged; tagging. To tag along is first recorded 1900.


in the baseball sense, 1907, from tag (n.2); the adjective in the pro-wrestling sense is recorded from 1955.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for tag




A strip of leather, paper, metal, or plastic attached to something or hung from a wearer's neck to identify, classify, or label.
A small outgrowth or polyp.


To label, identify, or recognize with or as if with a tag.
To incorporate into a compound a readily detected substance making the compound detectable so that its metabolic or chemical history may be followed.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for tag



A sequence of characters in a markup language used to provide information, such as formatting specifications, about a document. Tags are enclosed in a pair of angle brackets that indicate to the browser how the text is to be displayed.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.