- 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).
- 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.
Origin of wag
Related Wordsquiver, swing, nod, sway, shake, vibrate, wave, beat, switch, shimmy, rock, lash, waggle, bob, twitch, stir, flutter, oscillate, fish-tail
Examples from the Web for wagging
“It is not fair to the horses that have been running their guts out,” Coburn said, wagging a finger.Why California Chrome’s Fairy Tale Didn’t End Happily Ever After
June 8, 2014
Catton never shows, she tells, wagging on in the most officious way.Hatchet Job of the Year 2014 Shortlist Announced
January 19, 2014
Tongues were wagging when Miley Cyrus released the R-rated video for her song “Wrecking Ball.”Rob Ford, Kid President, What the Fox Say?, and More Viral Videos
The Daily Beast Video
December 29, 2013
“Matters of state are not decided on the street,” he declares, wagging a finger demonstratively.Slouching Towards Maidan: An American Hair-Trader Reflects On Ukraine’s Protests
December 15, 2013
What the tongues are wagging about at the end of Miami Art Basel.You Should Have Been There: Dispatches From Miami Art Basel
December 8, 2013
Possibly they recognized the Coyote of the house-yard as she stood there wagging her tail.Johnny Bear
E. T. Seton
The idea of Turkey wagging his head in a pulpit made me laugh.Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood
They were both gone, she replied, wagging her ancient head, for good.Barnaby Rudge
He was perking up his big ears and wagging his stump of a tail in front of him.The Manxman
How I came to keep my tongue from wagging out the truth I scarcely know.The Shame of Motley
- 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
- a humorous or jocular person; wit
- informal the wife or girlfriend of a famous sportsman
- (West Africa) Gambia (international car registration)
Word Origin and History for wagging
early 13c., "waver, vacillate, lack steadfastness," probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse vagga "a cradle," Danish vugge "rock a cradle," Old Swedish wagga "fluctuate"), and in part from Old English wagian "move backwards and forwards;" all from Proto-Germanic *wagojanan (cf. Old High German weggen, Gothic wagjan "to wag"), probably from PIE root *wegh- "to move about" (see weigh). Meaning "to move back and forth or up and down" is from c.1300. Wagtail is attested from c.1500 as a kind of small bird (late 12c. as a surname); 18c. as "a harlot," but seems to be implied much earlier:
If therefore thou make not thy mistress a goldfinch, thou mayst chance to find her a wagtaile. [Lyly, "Midas," 1592]
Wag-at-the-wall (1825) was an old name for a hanging clock with pendulum and weights exposed.
Idioms and Phrases with wagging
see tail wagging the dog; tongues wag.