noun[in singular] informal , chiefly British
1.1British A junior pupil at a private school who works and runs errands for a senior pupil.
- Unlike most of the top pros who, when the camera's are pointed elsewhere, treat their caddies as if they were public school fags, Garcia is genuinely close to his bagman, South African Glenn Murray.
- He looks like he should be a fag at a public school with those impish, worried looks.
verb (fags, fagging, fagged)[no object] British informal Back to top
1Work hard, especially at a tedious job or task: he didn’t have to fag away in a lab to get the right answer
More example sentences
- Hardly ideal circumstances for a history-making start, but after a few innings things fag into place for the hard throwing right-hander.
- I couldn't be fagged doing it tonight, as I am recovering from the horror of dragging two toddlers around the Royal Melbourne Show all day.
1.1(Of a pupil at a private school) work and run errands for a senior pupil.
- Kerr is a strange fish; I once fagged for a chap like him at Fettes.
- In fact, according to a recent biography of Jackson, Churchill actually fagged for two England captains, having earlier served Archie MacLaren as well.
- Letwin had his rebellious moments, campaigning against fagging, the custom of older pupils using younger ones as servants, yet his underlying politics remained conventional.
mid 16th century (as a verb in the sense 'grow weary'): of unknown origin. Compare with flag1.
- She won't let Alvin smoke his spliffs and fags inside any more.
- ‘A fag is a cig,’ he rolled his eyes at her stupidity.
- And then there was the time we went round the school with a note from Jenkins saying we were doing a study into the effects of cigarette smoke, and could we have some of your fags please sir/miss?
late 19th century: elliptically from fag end.