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

  • noun A barrel stave.
  • noun A strip, as of wood, that forms a part of the covering for a cylindrical object.
  • transitive verb To furnish or cover with lags.
  • intransitive verb To fail to keep up a pace; straggle.
  • intransitive verb To proceed or develop with comparative slowness.
  • intransitive verb To weaken or slacken; flag.
  • intransitive verb Games To determine the order of play by hitting or shooting a ball toward a mark, as in marbles or billiards, with the player whose ball stops closest to the mark going first.
  • intransitive verb To fail to keep up with (another).
  • intransitive verb To proceed or develop at a slower pace than (another).
  • intransitive verb Sports In golf, to hit (a putt) so that it stops a short way from the hole and can then be tapped in.
  • noun An interval between one event or phenomenon and another.
  • noun A condition of weakness or slackening.
  • transitive verb To arrest.
  • transitive verb To send to prison.
  • noun A convict.
  • noun An ex-convict.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To take; steal.
  • Slow; tardy; late; coming after or behind.
  • Long delayed; last.
  • noun One who or that which comes behind; the last comer; one who hangs back.
  • noun The lowest class; the rump; the fag-end.
  • noun In mech., the amount of retardation of some movement: as, the lag of the valve of a steam-engine.
  • noun In machinery, one of the strips which form the periphery of a wooden drum, the casing of a carding-machine, or the lagging or covering of a steam-boiler or-cylinder.
  • noun An old convict.
  • noun A term of hard labor or transportation.
  • noun In electricity, the displacement of phase of an electric wave back, or behind (in time), to another electric wave: used mainly with regard to alternating-current circuits.
  • noun See lagging of the tides, under lagging.
  • noun The angle corresponding to the lag of the tides; the hour-angle between the lunar transit and the flood-tide; the shifting of the earth's magnetic system from a symmetrical distribution about the noon meridian into the observed eccentric position.
  • To move slowly; fall behind; hang back; loiter; linger.
  • To slacken.
  • To clothe, as a steam-boiler, to prevent radiation of heat.
  • To bring into the hands of justice; cause to be punished for a crime.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Slang, Eng. One transported for a crime.
  • adjective obsolete Coming tardily after or behind; slow; tardy.
  • adjective Last; long-delayed; -- obsolete, except in the phrase lag end.
  • adjective obsolete Last made; hence, made of refuse; inferior.
  • transitive verb Slang, Eng. To transport for crime.
  • transitive verb obsolete To cause to lag; to slacken.
  • transitive verb (Mach.) To cover, as the cylinder of a steam engine, with lags. See Lag, n., 4.
  • intransitive verb To walk or more slowly; to stay or fall behind; to linger or loiter.
  • noun obsolete One who lags; that which comes in last.
  • noun The fag-end; the rump; hence, the lowest class.
  • noun The amount of retardation of anything, as of a valve in a steam engine, in opening or closing.
  • noun (Mach.) A stave of a cask, drum, etc.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Graylag.
  • noun The failing behind or retardation of one phenomenon with respect to another to which it is closely related.
  • noun the interval by which the time of high water falls behind the mean time, in the first and third quarters of the moon; -- opposed to priming of the tide, or the acceleration of the time of high water, in the second and fourth quarters; depending on the relative positions of the sun and moon.
  • noun an iron bolt with a square head, a sharp-edged thread, and a sharp point, adapted for screwing into wood; a screw for fastening lags.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective late
  • noun countable A gap, a delay; an interval created by something not keeping up; a latency.


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

[Probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Swedish lagg; see leu- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[From earlier lag, last person, from Middle English lag-, last (in lagmon, last man), perhaps of Scandinavian origin.]

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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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  • Contronymic in the sense: fall behind vs. advance (as a putt or coin).

    January 27, 2007

  • Gal in reverse.

    November 3, 2007