from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Games A children's game in which one player pursues the others until he or she is able to touch one of them, who then in turn becomes the pursuer.
  • noun Baseball The act of tagging a base runner.
  • noun Sports The act of tagging a ball carrier in touch football.
  • transitive verb To touch (another player) in the game of tag.
  • transitive verb Baseball To touch (a base runner) with the ball in order to make a putout.
  • transitive verb Sports To touch (a ball carrier) to end a play in touch football.
  • noun A strip of leather, paper, metal, or plastic attached to something or hung from a wearer's neck to identify, classify, or label.
  • noun The plastic or metal tip at the end of a shoelace.
  • noun The contrastingly colored tip of an animal's tail.
  • noun A dirty, matted lock of wool.
  • noun A loose lock of hair.
  • noun A rag; a tatter.
  • noun A small, loose fragment.
  • noun An ornamental flourish, especially at the end of a signature.
  • noun A designation or epithet, especially an unwelcome one.
  • noun A brief quotation used in a discourse to give it an air of erudition or authority.
  • noun A cliché, saw, or similar short, conventional idea used to embellish a discourse.
  • noun The refrain or last lines of a song or poem.
  • noun The closing lines of a speech in a play; a cue.
  • noun A label assigned to identify data in memory.
  • noun A sequence of characters in a markup language used to provide information, such as formatting specifications, about a document.
  • noun A metatag.
  • noun Slang A piece of graffiti featuring text, especially the author's name, rather than a picture.
  • intransitive verb To label, identify, or recognize with a tag or other identifier.
  • intransitive verb To put a ticket on (a motor vehicle) for a traffic or parking violation.
  • intransitive verb To add as an appendage to.
  • intransitive verb To follow closely.
  • intransitive verb To cut the tags from (sheep).
  • intransitive verb To add a taggant to.
  • intransitive verb Slang To mark or vandalize (a surface) with a graffiti tag.
  • intransitive verb To follow after; accompany.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A children's game in which one player chases the others till he touches or hits (tags) one of them, who then takes his place as tagger.
  • noun A point of metal or other hard substance at the end of a cord, string, lace, ribbon, strap, or the like; an aglet.
  • noun Hence, any pendant or appendage; a part or piece hanging loosely from the rest, as a flap, string, lock of hair, tail, or other appendage.
  • noun Specifically— A matted lock of wool on a sheep; a tag-lock. See tag, transitive verb, 5.
  • noun The tail of an animal; also, the tip of the tail.
  • noun A strip of leather, parchment, strong paper, or the like, loose at one end, and secured to a box, bag, or parcel, to receive a written address or label.
  • noun Anything hanging loosely or raggedly: used especially in contempt, as implying ragged or slovenly dress.
  • noun Something added or tacked on to the close of a composition or a performance; an extrinsic or explanatory supplement. In this use the envoy of a poem, the moral of a fable, or the appendix (but not properly the index) to a book is a tag; but the word is used technically of a closing speech or dialogue supplementary to a speech in a play, not necessary to its completeness, and often constituting a direct appeal to the audience for applause.
  • noun Collectively, the rabble; the lowest class of people, as closing the line of social rank, and forming as it were a string or tail: most commonly in the phrases tag and rag and rag-tag and bobtail or tag, rag, and bobtail. See ragtag and tag-rag.
  • noun In velvet-weaving, a wire used to raise the weft.
  • To furnish with a tag of any kind; fix or append a tag or tags to.
  • To mark by or on a tag; designate or direct by means of a marked tag.
  • To fasten or join on by or as if by the use of tags; tack on, especially in the sense of adding something superfluous or undesirable.
  • To follow closely and persistently; dog the steps of: as, a dog tags its master.
  • To remove tags from (sheep)—that is, to cut off clotted tags or locks of wool in exposed places, preparatory to the removal of the sheep from winter quarters. See tagging.


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

[Perhaps variant of Scots tig, touch, tap, probably alteration of Middle English tek.]

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

[Middle English tagge, dangling piece of cloth on a garment, possibly of Scandinavian origin.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word tag.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Just added a 'recent tags' page, where you can see the last 500 tags added to the site in either cloud or list form. Once you're there you can also set the number of tags visible to anywhere between 20 and 1000. It's linked from the bottom of every page. Another way to watch Wordie go by:

    October 6, 2007

  • John, you are so good. I was going to leave a question about tags on this page, but you preempted it. :)

    October 6, 2007

  • You're It.

    December 16, 2008

  • I flew into Tagbilaran airport (Bohol, Philippines) a few days ago, and was delighted to find a TAG tag on my suitcase.

    May 7, 2010

  • Any picture, moll?

    May 7, 2010

  • Thanks for the Obscure Airport Code, for my list of same, Comrade mollusque!

    May 7, 2010

  • Sorry Pro, guess I'm not photo-literate. It never crossed my mind to photograph the tag, and alas, it is no more. Maybe I can find one on the way out tomorrow.

    May 10, 2010

  • "tag" in Hungarian means: member

    August 1, 2012

  • The flock of definitions herein contains references to sheep.

    December 8, 2012

  • "Hey guys,

    Tag me, please.

    Jann, across the hall


    A post-it from an old neighbor in the apartment where I'm staying this week (Queens, NY).

    I've never heard or seen the verb tag used like this before. An you?

    June 23, 2015