from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Shaggy or unkempt; ragged.
  • adj. Diverse and disorderly in appearance or composition: "They're a small ragtag army of racketeers, bandits, and murderers” ( Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.)

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Unkempt, shabby, or in a state of disrepair.
  • adj. Very diverse; comprised of irregular and dissimilar components.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. disparaging terms for the common people


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • I always thought the word ragtag best applied to the Mahdi Army.

    Wednesday, April 02, 2008

  • At the present time, I would say that the vast majority of rebel forces that have been deployed in what is commonly referred to as ‘Free Libya’ can be described as 'ragtag.'

    Analysts: Libya Faces Possible Military Stalemate

  • It started out as just a handful of protesters near Wall Street - the sort of demonstration folks describe as "ragtag"... "disorganized."

    Breaking News: CBS News

  • Last week when USA Today called the Occupiers a "ragtag assortment of college kids, labor unionists, conspiracy theorists and others" hinting they're a flash-in-the-pan "devoid of remedies," I smiled, reminded of that famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas 1776, leading what historians also called a "ragtag" Continental Army, surprising the British, and winning the Battle of Trenton. - Top Stories

  • Have you heard about the new national political organization called a ragtag collection of journalists, pundits, and politicians who claim they support civility in campaigning and bipartisanship in government.

    Crooks and Liars

  • This "ragtag" country should be long gone by now, but isn't??

    Obama: Bush and McCain 'have a lot to answer for'

  • But as we cruised breezily down the car-free streets, meeting up with other wheeled university contingents, a kind of ragtag mass euphoria built with each addition to the ranks.

    Archive 2009-05-09

  • He believed so firmly in this country that the idea that this country could be defeated by a little, as he called it "ragtag" army -- and that's cleaning it up a bit -- was just inconceivable.

    Deadline: A Memoir

  • I really enjoyed how the miniseries set up the story of how and why that "ragtag" group of humans, as Lorne Greene called them in the intro to the original version, came to that point.

    Inside TV Blog

  • Here was little Glenwood in only its third year of existence in concert class, a 'ragtag' team of young and determined musical prodigies who survived a change in instructors at the beginning of their season, little minivans hauling them around, competing against teams with full music department staffs/directors, tractor trailers for hauling equipment and custom chartered buses who have been doing world competitions for 20 years.

    Glenwood Springs Post Independent - Top Stories


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  • When you donate your unused clothes, the people who wear them won't be called ragtag anymore.

    August 4, 2009

  • WeirdNet, that's kind of cute and snobby at the same time.

    August 4, 2009