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

  • transitive v. To annoy by constant scolding, complaining, or urging.
  • transitive v. To torment persistently, as with anxiety or pain.
  • intransitive v. To scold, complain, or find fault constantly: nagging at the children.
  • intransitive v. To be a constant source of anxiety or annoyance: The half-remembered quotation nagged at my mind.
  • n. One who nags.
  • n. A horse, especially:
  • n. An old or worn-out horse.
  • n. Slang A racehorse.
  • n. Archaic A small saddle horse or pony.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small horse; a pony.
  • n. An old useless horse.
  • v. To repeatedly remind or complain to someone in an annoying way, often about insignificant matters.
  • v. To act inappropriately in the eyes of peers, to backstab, to verbally abuse.
  • v. To bother with persistent memories.
  • v. Other sorts of persistent annoyance, e.g.:
  • n. One who nags.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small horse; a pony; hence, any horse, especially one that is of inferior breeding or useless.
  • n. A paramour; -- in contempt.
  • n. A person who nags, especially habitually; called also nagger.
  • v. To tease in a petty way; to scold habitually; to annoy; to fret pertinaciously.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To nick; chip; slit.
  • To irritate or annoy with continued scolding, petty faultfinding, or urging; pester with continual complaints; torment; worry.
  • To scold pertinaciously; find fault constantly.
  • n. A nick; a notch.
  • n. A horse, especially a poor or small horse.
  • n. A worthless person; as applied to a woman, a jade.
  • n. A wooden ball used in the game of shinty or hockey.

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

  • v. remind or urge constantly
  • n. someone (especially a woman) who annoys people by constantly finding fault
  • n. an old or over-worked horse
  • v. bother persistently with trivial complaints
  • v. worry persistently


Probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse gnaga, to bite, gnaw.
Middle English nagge, possibly of Low German origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English nagge, cognate with Dutch negge (Wiktionary)
Probably from a Scandinavian source; compare Swedish nagga ("to gnaw, grumble"), Danish nagge, Icelandic nagga ("to complain"). (Wiktionary)



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