Definitions

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

  • transitive verb To compose or play (a piece) in ragtime.
  • noun A piece written in ragtime.
  • noun A roofing slate with one rough surface.
  • noun Chiefly British A coarsely textured rock.
  • transitive verb To criticize or scold (someone).
  • transitive verb To criticize or complain about (something).
  • transitive verb To tease or taunt (someone).
  • transitive verb Chiefly British To play a joke on.
  • transitive verb Sports In ice hockey, to maintain possession of (the puck) by outmaneuvering opposing players, especially so as to kill a penalty.
  • noun A practical joke; a prank.
  • noun A scrap of cloth.
  • noun A piece of cloth used for cleaning, washing, or dusting.
  • noun Threadbare or tattered clothing.
  • noun Cloth converted to pulp for making paper.
  • noun A scrap; a fragment.
  • noun Slang A newspaper, especially one specializing in sensationalism or gossip.
  • noun The stringy central portion and membranous walls of a citrus fruit.
  • idiom (on the rag) Menstruating.
  • idiom (on the rag) Irritable; grouchy.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A drizzling rain.
  • To banter; badger; rail at; irritate; torment. Compare bullyrag.
  • noun An abbreviation of raginee.
  • noun In Oxford University, a noisy, disorderly outbreak, in violation of established regulations: originally peculiar to English university life.
  • noun In botany: The pithy axis and the membranes separating the sections of the orange and other citrus fruits.
  • noun A coat; a tunic: army slang in India in the last century; still used. Also raggie (which see).
  • To become ragged; fray: with out.
  • To dress; deck one's self: in the phrase to rag out, to dress in one's best.
  • To make ragged; abrade; give a ragged appearance to, as in the rough-dressing of the face of a grindstone.
  • In mining, to separate by ragging or with the aid of the ragging-hammer. See ragging, 2.
  • noun A sharp or jagged fragment rising from a surface or edge: as, a rag on a metal plate; hence, a jagged face of rock; a rocky headland; a cliff; a crag.
  • noun A rock having or weathering with a rough irregular surface.
  • noun In botany:
  • noun A lichen, Sticta pulmonaria (see hazel-crottles).
  • noun Another lichen, Parmelia saxatilis (stone-rag).
  • noun A catkin of the hazel, or of the willow, Salix caprea. Also raw.
  • noun A torn, worn, or formless fragment or shred of cloth; a comparatively worthless piece of any textile fabric, either wholly or partly detached from its connection by violence or abrasion: as, his coat was in rags; cotton and linen rags are used to make paper, and woolen rags to make shoddy.
  • noun A worn, torn, or mean garment; in the plural, shabby or worn-out clothes, showing rents and patches.
  • noun Any separate fragment or shred of cloth, or of something like or likened to it: often applied disparagingly or playfully to a handkerchief, a flag or banner, a sail, the curtain of a theater, a newspaper, etc.
  • noun Figuratively, a severed fragment; a remnant; a scrap; a bit.
  • noun A base, beggarly person; a ragamuffin; a tatterdemalion.
  • noun A farthing.
  • noun A herd of colts.
  • noun In type-founding, the bur or rough edge left on imperfectly finished type.
  • Made of or with rags; formed from or consisting of refuse pieces or fragments of cloth: as, rag pulp for paper-making; a rag carpet.
  • In U. S. political slang, the paper currency of the government; greenback money: so called with reference to the contention of the Greenback party, before and after the resumption of specie payments in 1879, in favor of making such money a full legal tender for the national debt and all other purposes.

Etymologies

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

[Perhaps from ragged.]

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

[Origin unknown.]

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

[Origin unknown.]

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

[Middle English ragge, ultimately (probably partly by back-formation from raggi, shaggy, ragged) of Old Norse origin; akin to Old Icelandic rögg, tuft and Swedish ragg, shaggy hair.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain; perhaps the same word as Etymology 2, below.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Norse rǫgg ("tuft, shagginess"). Cognate with Swedish ragg.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps from ragged. Compare later ragtime.

Examples

  • She looked very charming and imposing in her evening dress, but when Betty ventured to admire it she was informed that it was "A rag, my dear -- a prehistoric _rag_!" and warned that at any moment the worn-out fabric might be expected to fly asunder, when "As you love me, fling yourself upon me, and _hurl_ me from the room!

    Betty Trevor

  • Few sounds are more distinct in their kind, or one would think more likely to be vocally reproduced in the word which signified them, than that of a swift rent in strongly woven cloth; and the English word 'rag' and ragged, with the Greek [Greek: rhêgnumi], do indeed in a measure recall the tormenting effect upon the ear.

    Proserpina, Volume 1 Studies Of Wayside Flowers

  • A piece of rag is then dipped into native dye made from tree-bark, and well rubbed over the cloth.

    Treasures of the South Seas

  • The rag is bankrolled by an alien who's finances may have been Persiled but still left with a stain afterwards.

    Will Iain Dale have to repay the donations ?

  • That bloody rag is beyond the pale. on February 8, 2010 at 7: 14 pm Charles Maitland

    Why front-line police officers are glad about Dizaei « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • Flurry's cult that publishes the rag is called Philadelphia Church of God.

    Misc., This, and That

  • Just because they are new and every rag is buzzing over them doesn't mean I want to run out and buy one.

    Welcome Back Redfield Scopes

  • Grip-n-Grin tip #12: Always remember to wet the fish BEFORE setting the shot or your subject will look ridiculous while you are getting a wet rag from the break room.

    Write the Caption, Win a Prize...

  • Just because they are new and every rag is buzzing over them doesn't mean I want to run out and buy one.

    Welcome Back Redfield Scopes

  • Grip-n-Grin tip #12: Always remember to wet the fish BEFORE setting the shot or your subject will look ridiculous while you are getting a wet rag from the break room.

    Write the Caption, Win a Prize...

Comments

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  • "1.Music. To play or compose (a piece, melody, etc.) in syncopated time. Colloq. 2. To dance to ragtime music;--often used with an implication of indecorum. Colloq. or Slang."

    December 14, 2006

  • "In typography, “rag” refers to the irregular or uneven vertical margin of a block of type. Usually it’s the right margin that’s ragged (as in the commonly seen flush left/rag right setting), but either or both margins can be ragged." (http://www.fonts.com/AboutFonts/Articles/fyti/RagsWidowsOrphans.htm)

    February 26, 2009

  • Song quotation on slutty.

    August 20, 2009

  • highlighting this Century definition:

    n. In Oxford University, a noisy, disorderly outbreak, in violation of established regulations: originally peculiar to English university life.

    July 27, 2015