[ wag ]
See synonyms for: wagwaggedwaggingwagger on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),wagged, wag·ging.
  1. to move from side to side, forward and backward, or up and down, especially rapidly and repeatedly: a dog wagging its tail.

  2. to move (the tongue), as in idle or indiscreet chatter.

  1. to shake (a finger) at someone, as in reproach.

  2. to move or nod (the head).

verb (used without object),wagged, wag·ging.
  1. to be moved from side to side or one way and the other, especially rapidly and repeatedly, as the head or the tail.

  2. to move constantly, especially in idle or indiscreet chatter: Her behavior caused local tongues to wag.

  1. to get along; travel; proceed: Let the world wag how it will.

  2. to totter or sway.

  3. British Slang. to play truant; play hooky.

  1. the act of wagging: a friendly wag of the tail.

  2. a person given to droll, roguish, or mischievous humor; wit.

Origin of wag

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English waggen, from Old Norse vaga “to sway,” or from vagga “cradle”

Other words from wag

  • wagger, noun
  • un·wagged, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use wag in a sentence

  • Now he was wagging his head solemnly, pulling his beard, and over and over repeating, "But hens is contrary—hens is contrary."

  • Henry Holmes was standing with his back to the stove, one hand wagging up and down at the solemn line of figures on the bench.

  • But this dog's tail was wagging, certainly, so Jess bent over without fear to look at the paw.

    The Box-Car Children | Gertrude Chandler Warner
  • But he had one friend left—little Wienerwurst, who frisked up to him just then, wagging his tail.

    Seven O'Clock Stories | Robert Gordon Anderson
  • He brought it in his hat and gave it to the dog, who lapped it slowly at first, but afterwards much faster, and wagging his tail.

British Dictionary definitions for wag (1 of 4)


/ (wæɡ) /

verbwags, wagging or wagged
  1. to move or cause to move rapidly and repeatedly from side to side or up and down

  2. to move (the tongue) or (of the tongue) to be moved rapidly in talking, esp in idle gossip

  1. to move (the finger) or (of the finger) to be moved from side to side, in or as in admonition

  2. slang to play truant (esp in the phrase wag it)

  1. the act or an instance of wagging

Origin of wag

C13: from Old English wagian to shake; compare Old Norse vagga cradle

British Dictionary definitions for wag (2 of 4)


/ (wæɡ) /

  1. a humorous or jocular person; wit

Origin of wag

C16: of uncertain origin

Derived forms of wag

  • waggery, noun
  • waggish, adjective
  • waggishly, adverb
  • waggishness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Wag (3 of 4)


/ (wæɡ) /

  1. informal the wife or girlfriend of a famous sportsman

Origin of Wag

C21: a back formation from an acronym for w (ives) a (nd) g (irlfriends)

British Dictionary definitions for WAG (4 of 4)


abbreviation for
  1. (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.