Definitions

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

  • noun A bony or scrawny person or animal.
  • noun A piece of lean or bony meat, especially a neck of mutton.
  • noun Slang The human neck.
  • transitive verb To wring the neck of; strangle.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To put to death by hanging; hang.
  • noun A crooked branch.
  • noun Something thin or lean, and at the same time rough.
  • noun A scraggy or scrawny person.
  • noun A scrag-whale.
  • noun A remnant, or refuse part; specifically, the neck, or a piece of the neck, of beef or mutton.
  • Scragged or scraggy: said of whales.

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

  • noun Something thin, lean, or rough; a bony piece; especially, a bony neckpiece of meat; hence, humorously or in contempt, the neck.
  • noun Low A rawboned person.
  • noun A ragged, stunted tree or branch.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a North Atlantic whalebone whale (Agaphelus gibbosus). By some it is considered the young of the right whale.
  • transitive verb colloq. To seize, pull, or twist the neck of; specif., to hang by the neck; to kill by hanging.

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

  • noun archaic The lean end of a neck of mutton; the scrag end.
  • noun archaic The neck, especially of a sheep.
  • noun Scotland A scrog.
  • noun Australia, slang, derogatory A rough or unkempt woman.
  • verb obsolete (colloquial) To hang on a gallows, or to strangle or garotte or choke.
  • verb To harass, to manhandle
  • verb To kill or destroy.

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

  • verb strangle with an iron collar
  • noun lean end of the neck
  • noun the lean end of a neck of veal
  • verb wring the neck of
  • noun a person who is unusually thin and scrawny

Etymologies

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

[Perhaps from dialectal crag, neck, from Middle English cragge, from Middle Dutch crāghe, throat.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps related to Norwegian skragg (a lean person), dialectical Swedish skragge (old and torn thing), Danish skrog (hull, carcass); perhaps related to shrink.

Examples

  • Fore quarter: No. 3, the shoulder; 4 and 5 the neck; No. 5 being called, for distinction, the scrag, which is generally afterwards separated from 4, the lower and better joint;

    The Book of Household Management

  • Fore quarter: No. 3, the shoulder; 4 and 5 the neck; No. 5 being called, for distinction, the scrag, which is generally afterwards separated from 4, the lower and better joint;

    The Book of Household Management

  • Inferior cuts of mutton can be used advantageously for this dish, such as scrag-end or breast of mutton; the bones and gristle with long stewing give a nice flavor to the dish.

    The Story of Crisco

  • At the scrag-end of a long thread I quoted Gary Jacobson writing on the 1994 election.

    Matthew Yglesias » Obama’s Doomed Strategy

  • Where Dedham in Essex now has cars mounting pavements and each other in profusion, 1958 saw just one Fordson van in the street, probably delivering scrag end to the vicar's wife.

    Fifty Not Out

  • Hunt for the spirit of the coming ruction and try to scrag it!

    In The Time Of Light

  • On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop

    Soft Options: Day-Tripping to Danger

  • "Well, the lion may be old, mister, but he ain't dead, and he can still take you by your dirty neck and scrag you like the rat you are!"

    THE NUMBERS

  • On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop

    Hacking Away: Epic Schemes and Epic Rides

  • Also in a quite untimely manner given that Halloween was a week ago; and that I'm clinging on tight to the scrag end of my late-30s with very slippy hands.

    What I bought this week: leather

Comments

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  • "'That fellow Haines, sir, the Hermione as wanted to peach on his mates, he's afraid they know and are going to scrag him: says, may he come over to our side?'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 381

    February 23, 2008

  • "...they were silent as Jack approached but when he passed their voices could be heard, low and urgent, arguing—English voices. 'Scrag the bugger now,' cried one and a stone hit Jack's shoulder."

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 402

    February 23, 2008