[ wag ]
/ wæg /
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verb (used with object), wagged, wag·ging.
to move from side to side, forward and backward, or up and down, especially rapidly and repeatedly: a dog wagging its tail.
to move (the tongue), as in idle or indiscreet chatter.
to shake (a finger) at someone, as in reproach.
to move or nod (the head).
verb (used without object), wagged, wag·ging.
to be moved from side to side or one way and the other, especially rapidly and repeatedly, as the head or the tail.
to move constantly, especially in idle or indiscreet chatter: Her behavior caused local tongues to wag.
to get along; travel; proceed: Let the world wag how it will.
to totter or sway.
British Slang. to play truant; play hooky.
the act of wagging: a friendly wag of the tail.
a person given to droll, roguish, or mischievous humor; wit.
THINGAMABOB OR THINGUMMY: CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE US AND UK TERMS IN THIS QUIZ?
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
Question 1 of 7
In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…
Origin of wag
First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English waggen, from Old Norse vaga “to sway,” or from vagga “cradle”
OTHER WORDS FROM wagwagger, nounun·wagged, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use wag in a sentence
But after consulting with his boss, the second guard also wagged his head.Pope Francis, ‘the Maker of Traffic Jams’|Mac Margolis|July 26, 2013|DAILY BEAST
If only salespeople were fuzzy and wagged their tails more, they'd probably find it easier to cooperate with the inevitable.The Economics of Puppy Management|Megan McArdle|February 22, 2013|DAILY BEAST
The Seneschal blew out his cheeks almost to bursting point, then wagged his head and smiled wistfully.
"I think we have exchanged compliments enough," said he, and Fortunio wagged his head approvingly.
The dwarf wagged his ears after his wont, to show how highly he prized such praise.God Wills It!|William Stearns Davis
She boar an exlent, irreprotchable character, against which the tongue of scandal never wagged.Memoirs of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush|William Makepeace Thackeray
The men ran up in real alarm; Carlo wagged his tail as soon as they came near him, but he did not get up.It Is Never Too Late to Mend|Charles Reade
British Dictionary definitions for wag (1 of 4)
/ (wæɡ) /
verb wags, wagging or wagged
to move or cause to move rapidly and repeatedly from side to side or up and down
to move (the tongue) or (of the tongue) to be moved rapidly in talking, esp in idle gossip
to move (the finger) or (of the finger) to be moved from side to side, in or as in admonition
slang to play truant (esp in the phrase wag it)
the act or an instance of wagging
Word Origin for wag
C13: from Old English wagian to shake; compare Old Norse vagga cradle
British Dictionary definitions for wag (2 of 4)
/ (wæɡ) /
a humorous or jocular person; wit
Derived forms of wagwaggery, nounwaggish, adjectivewaggishly, adverbwaggishness, noun
Word Origin for wag
C16: of uncertain origin
British Dictionary definitions for wag (3 of 4)
/ (wæɡ) /
informal the wife or girlfriend of a famous sportsman
Word Origin for Wag
C21: a back formation from an acronym for w (ives) a (nd) g (irlfriends)
British Dictionary definitions for wag (4 of 4)
(West Africa) Gambia (international car registration)
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with wag
see tail wagging the dog; tongues wag.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.