Definitions

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

  • n. The frayed end of a length of cloth or rope.
  • n. An inferior or worn-out remnant.
  • n. The last part: "the fag end of this crisis-ridden century” ( Wallace Irwin, Jr.)

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative form of fag-end.

Etymologies

Middle English fagge, fag, broken thread in cloth, something that hangs loose.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • My uncle Toby and the corporal had been accoutred both some time, when my father and mother enter’d, and the clock striking eleven, were that moment in motion to sally forth — but the account of this is worth more than to be wove into the fag end of the eighth (Alluding to the first edition.) volume of such a work as this. —

    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

  • She carried "a fine Horace, which repeatedly annoyed me by tumbling in the dirt, a volume of Sully's Memoirs, and a little fag end of Spinoza, being his Tractat upon the Old Testament."

    Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910

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