What does hag mean?


Historically, a hag is an old, ugly women with evil powers. Much like witches, crones, and banshees, hag has become a sexist insult degrading women.

Examples of hag


Examples of hag
Sorry, but Madonna's an old hag trying to look 20.
@lsgatos, September 2018
this 75 year old man called me a frigid hag because I was ignoring his cat calls ... yup you’re right I am
@alyssamry, September 2018
I'll never get tired of making fun of old people. Trying to distract myself from the impending reality that'll be me soon? Perhaps, but until then, hag will be one of my favourite words..
@nakugire, September 2018

Where does hag come from?

Warriors of Myth

Hags as evil, old women are an ancient archetype, appearing in myth and literature from the Slavic myth of Baba Yaga to the Greek Furies. They are often figured as witch-like figures who live in wild places like swamps and forests.

Travis Simmons

The word hag is recorded in the 13th century and comes from a Germanic root. By the 1300s, hag was already being used to dismiss women considered ugly, repulsive, and vicious.

In the 1960s, fag hag emerged. Fag hags are straight women who socialize with gay men. While some women and gay people embrace the term (such as comedian Margaret Cho), fag hag is considered doubly offensive, featuring a homophobic slur and sexist insult. 

Women in powerful positions, such as US Democratic politicians Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, are often denigrated as hags.

Who uses hag?

Hags still make appearances in our modern mythologies. The Gullah people of the coastal Carolinas, for instance, tell stories of the boohag, who sheds her skin at night to sneak into houses and feast on sleepers’ energy.

Hags also show up in the Harry Potter universe, figured as semi-magical, non-human beings that muggles mistake for witches. Hollywood loves hags, too, with cinematic hags appearing in Drag Me To Hell (2009), Hag (2014,) and The Hag (2018.)

Unfortunately, hag is also still used as a sexist insult. Hillary Clinton was derided as an old hag during her 2016 presidential run by supporters of Donald Trump. In 2017, Republican politician Roger Stanton caused outrage when he called the Women’s March a “hag and ho’ show” on social media.

Unless you’re discussing myth, magic, or Macbeth, avoid calling a woman a hag. It implies woman are only valuable if they are young, beautiful, and submissive.

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