There are 5 main definitions of rag in English:

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rag1

Line breaks: rag
Pronunciation: /raɡ
 
/

noun

1A piece of old cloth, especially one torn from a larger piece, used typically for cleaning things: he wiped his hands on an oily rag [mass noun]: a piece of rag
More example sentences
  • It hadn't taken Lee long to come back with a clean wet cloth before the cold rag was pressed to Kris' scalp.
  • He leaned down to gather clean water in the rag for rinsing, running the cloth over the same areas.
  • Quickly, he ran to grab some rags to clean up, shaking his head - he knew he'd ruined his chance.
Synonyms
piece of cloth, bit/scrap/fragment of cloth, cloth
North American informal schmatte
archaic clout
1.1 (rags) Old or tattered clothes: street urchins dressed in rags
More example sentences
  • In rags she huddled in the corner of her dank cell.
  • You could see the homeless on the streets, in their tattered rags and scraps of what were once new, clean clothes; they were all begging.
  • There's one guy who gets on the tube with an accordion, while his son, in tattered rags, goes up and down the aisles with a Pringles can to collect spare change.
Synonyms
tattered clothes, torn clothing, tatters, old clothes, cast-offs, hand-me-downs
1.2 [with negative] archaic The smallest scrap of cloth or clothing: not a rag of clothing has arrived to us this winter
2 informal A newspaper, typically one regarded as being of low quality: the local rag
More example sentences
  • Take the business of this newspaper, the rag that backed the rebel faction, and that was closed down for 60 days last month.
  • I'm a health care reporter for our local rag.
  • How did she work as a promising and up-rising journalist at one of the country's most popular tabloid rags?

verb (rags, ragging, ragged)

[with object] Back to top  
1Give a decorative effect to (a painted surface) by applying paint, typically of a different colour, with a rag: the background walls have been stippled above the dado rail and ragged below
More example sentences
  • Here he expanded his skills to include marbling, dragging and ragging techniques.
1.1Apply (paint) to a surface with a rag.
Example sentences
  • Paint can be textured or distressed, ragged or rolled.

Origin

Middle English: probably a back-formation from ragged or raggy.

More
  • A Scandinavian word for ‘tufted’ probably lies behind rag. In lose your rag (early 20th century) ‘to lose your temper’, rag is probably an old slang term for the tongue—the phrase was originally get your rag out. This sense of rag may well be behind the student rag or prank, found from the early 19th century, and the dated verb meaning ‘to tease, play a joke on’. From rags to riches describes someone's rise from a state of extreme poverty to great wealth, as in a fairytale like Cinderella. The concept is ancient, but the phrase was not recorded until the late 19th century, when a play called From Rags to Riches was mentioned in a US newspaper. A group of people regarded as disreputable or undesirable may be described as ragtag and bobtail. Bobtail (early 17th century) was an established term for a horse or dog with a docked tail, but rag and tag (LME of unknown origin) were separate words conveying the same meaning of ‘tattered or ragged clothes’. Putting them together gives you the literal sense of ‘people in ragged clothes together with their dogs and horses’. In one traditional folk song a lady leaves her house, land, and ‘new-wedded lord’ to run away with ‘the raggle-taggle gypsies’. Raggle-taggle (late 19th century) here is an elaboration of ragtag. Similarly ragamuffin is probably an elaboration of rag. The word is found once c.1400 as the name of a devil, but then not until 1586. The 1990s term ragga for a style of dance music is taken from ragamuffin, because of the style of clothing worn by its fans. Rug (mid 16th century), once a name for a type of coarse woollen cloth, is probably from the same root. The sense ‘small carpet’ dates from the early 19th century. So too is rugged (Middle English). ‘Shaggy’ was an early sense of rugged as was ‘rough-coated’ (in descriptions of horses).

Phrases

be on the rag

1
informal , chiefly North American Be menstruating.
[from rag in the sense 'sanitary towel']
Example sentences
  • Now that everyone in the store was informed of the fact that I was on the rag, I made my selection and took it up to the counter.
  • At first he was expecting his client to be some pimple face, tub of lard, that choked a guy who made a fat joke while she was on the rag but seeing this girl he now new better than to think of the typical.
  • He said he didn't want to see some ugly broads moan about being on the rag.

lose one's rag

2
British informal Lose one’s temper.
Example sentences
  • Mom loses her rag and threatens to get rid of him approximately twice a day, but he's still here.
  • Put anyone in the dugout, anyone, and on 90% of the population it'll have the same effect: they'll tend to lose their rag.
  • I should have let it drop and said we'd speak in the morning, but instead I lose my rag and tell her I'm going back to the pub and she can sort herself out.

(from) rags to riches

3
Used to describe a person’s rise from a state of extreme poverty to one of great wealth: it was the old rags-to-riches fantasy
More example sentences
  • The Industrial Revolution had thrown up a new figure in the form of the self-made man: someone who had risen from rags to riches on the basis of sheer hard work and technical competence.
  • His life is often described as a rags to riches story.
  • Despite his resolve to rise from rags to riches, Jim's economic maneuvers - as he explains to Huck - have been dismal failures.

Words that rhyme with rag

bag, blag, brag, Bragg, crag, dag, drag, fag, flag, gag, hag, jag, lag, mag, nag, quag, sag, scrag, shag, slag, snag, sprag, stag, swag, tag, wag, zag

Definition of rag in:

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There are 5 main definitions of rag in English:

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rag2

Line breaks: rag
Pronunciation: /raɡ
 
/

noun

[mass noun, usually as modifier] British
1A programme of stunts, parades, and other entertainments organized by students to raise money for charity: rag week
More example sentences
  • Police have given permission for the march to take place although refused to let it begin from York Minster because of the University's student rag week.
  • For the past eight decades or so, the Union has been housed in its distinctive premises at the bottom of University Avenue, regularly stormed by rival Strathclyde students on rag days.
  • It made me laugh, even though it had a kind of amateur, student rag week kind of feel to it.
Synonyms
fundraising event, charity event, charitable event, collection
1.1 [count noun] informal , dated A boisterous prank or practical joke: the college is preparing for a good old rag tonight

verb (rags, ragging, ragged)

[with object] Back to top  
1Make fun of (someone) in a boisterous manner: he ragged me about not smoking or drinking despite the way I sometimes rag her, she is my sister
More example sentences
  • The lads were ragging me about that, declaring I had lost my touch, he laughed.
  • Hey, I'm not ragging you guys, it's nice to know someone actually reads my stuff…
  • I apologize to Mr. Russell for ragging him but that's what happens when you have a rock garden named after you.
2Rebuke severely: I ragged a restaurant last week for mangling Key lime pie
More example sentences
  • If any male relative comes to the village after sunset, the women rag him and sometimes beat him up.
3 Ice Hockey Keep possession of (the puck) by skilful stick-handling and avoidance of opponents, so as to waste time: players ragged the puck in mid-ice to kill off penalties

Origin

mid 18th century: of unknown origin.

More
  • A Scandinavian word for ‘tufted’ probably lies behind rag. In lose your rag (early 20th century) ‘to lose your temper’, rag is probably an old slang term for the tongue—the phrase was originally get your rag out. This sense of rag may well be behind the student rag or prank, found from the early 19th century, and the dated verb meaning ‘to tease, play a joke on’. From rags to riches describes someone's rise from a state of extreme poverty to great wealth, as in a fairytale like Cinderella. The concept is ancient, but the phrase was not recorded until the late 19th century, when a play called From Rags to Riches was mentioned in a US newspaper. A group of people regarded as disreputable or undesirable may be described as ragtag and bobtail. Bobtail (early 17th century) was an established term for a horse or dog with a docked tail, but rag and tag (LME of unknown origin) were separate words conveying the same meaning of ‘tattered or ragged clothes’. Putting them together gives you the literal sense of ‘people in ragged clothes together with their dogs and horses’. In one traditional folk song a lady leaves her house, land, and ‘new-wedded lord’ to run away with ‘the raggle-taggle gypsies’. Raggle-taggle (late 19th century) here is an elaboration of ragtag. Similarly ragamuffin is probably an elaboration of rag. The word is found once c.1400 as the name of a devil, but then not until 1586. The 1990s term ragga for a style of dance music is taken from ragamuffin, because of the style of clothing worn by its fans. Rug (mid 16th century), once a name for a type of coarse woollen cloth, is probably from the same root. The sense ‘small carpet’ dates from the early 19th century. So too is rugged (Middle English). ‘Shaggy’ was an early sense of rugged as was ‘rough-coated’ (in descriptions of horses).

Phrasal verbs

rag on

1
North American informal Complain about or criticize continually: most reports rag on the crudeness of today’s gear
More example sentences
  • Any guy who rags on the color of your shoelaces is scary.
  • For example, my wife rags on me semi-constantly for not looking people directly in the eye when I'm introduced.
  • This guy is the meekest of mice, since he rags on a person he supposedly cares about.

Definition of rag in:

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There are 5 main definitions of rag in English:

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rag3

Line breaks: rag
Pronunciation: /raɡ
 
/

noun

2 (also ragstone) [mass noun] British A hard, coarse sedimentary rock that can be broken into thick slabs.
Example sentences
  • Following the defences round, Roman remains, comprising the typical red tile and ragstone, can be seen at Cooper's Row and about 45 m. north of Tower Hill underground station.
  • Ahead of us, now, we can see what appears to be a large country house, built of grey ragstone and surrounded by smooth green lawns with the loch lapping at a small pontoon.

Origin

late Middle English (in (sense 2)): of unknown origin; later associated with rag1.

More
  • A Scandinavian word for ‘tufted’ probably lies behind rag. In lose your rag (early 20th century) ‘to lose your temper’, rag is probably an old slang term for the tongue—the phrase was originally get your rag out. This sense of rag may well be behind the student rag or prank, found from the early 19th century, and the dated verb meaning ‘to tease, play a joke on’. From rags to riches describes someone's rise from a state of extreme poverty to great wealth, as in a fairytale like Cinderella. The concept is ancient, but the phrase was not recorded until the late 19th century, when a play called From Rags to Riches was mentioned in a US newspaper. A group of people regarded as disreputable or undesirable may be described as ragtag and bobtail. Bobtail (early 17th century) was an established term for a horse or dog with a docked tail, but rag and tag (LME of unknown origin) were separate words conveying the same meaning of ‘tattered or ragged clothes’. Putting them together gives you the literal sense of ‘people in ragged clothes together with their dogs and horses’. In one traditional folk song a lady leaves her house, land, and ‘new-wedded lord’ to run away with ‘the raggle-taggle gypsies’. Raggle-taggle (late 19th century) here is an elaboration of ragtag. Similarly ragamuffin is probably an elaboration of rag. The word is found once c.1400 as the name of a devil, but then not until 1586. The 1990s term ragga for a style of dance music is taken from ragamuffin, because of the style of clothing worn by its fans. Rug (mid 16th century), once a name for a type of coarse woollen cloth, is probably from the same root. The sense ‘small carpet’ dates from the early 19th century. So too is rugged (Middle English). ‘Shaggy’ was an early sense of rugged as was ‘rough-coated’ (in descriptions of horses).

Definition of rag in:

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There are 5 main definitions of rag in English:

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rag4

Line breaks: rag
Pronunciation: /raɡ
 
/

noun

A ragtime composition or tune.
Example sentences
  • Composed rags were widely published and became extremely popular among white amateur pianists, though it is likely that the black creators of ragtime would have played in a much freer manner than the written music suggests.
  • It is based on traditions of rag music and social protest lyrics.
  • It definitely puts his performances of Scott Joplin's rags in a different light!

Origin

late 19th century: perhaps from ragged; compare with ragtime.

More
  • A Scandinavian word for ‘tufted’ probably lies behind rag. In lose your rag (early 20th century) ‘to lose your temper’, rag is probably an old slang term for the tongue—the phrase was originally get your rag out. This sense of rag may well be behind the student rag or prank, found from the early 19th century, and the dated verb meaning ‘to tease, play a joke on’. From rags to riches describes someone's rise from a state of extreme poverty to great wealth, as in a fairytale like Cinderella. The concept is ancient, but the phrase was not recorded until the late 19th century, when a play called From Rags to Riches was mentioned in a US newspaper. A group of people regarded as disreputable or undesirable may be described as ragtag and bobtail. Bobtail (early 17th century) was an established term for a horse or dog with a docked tail, but rag and tag (LME of unknown origin) were separate words conveying the same meaning of ‘tattered or ragged clothes’. Putting them together gives you the literal sense of ‘people in ragged clothes together with their dogs and horses’. In one traditional folk song a lady leaves her house, land, and ‘new-wedded lord’ to run away with ‘the raggle-taggle gypsies’. Raggle-taggle (late 19th century) here is an elaboration of ragtag. Similarly ragamuffin is probably an elaboration of rag. The word is found once c.1400 as the name of a devil, but then not until 1586. The 1990s term ragga for a style of dance music is taken from ragamuffin, because of the style of clothing worn by its fans. Rug (mid 16th century), once a name for a type of coarse woollen cloth, is probably from the same root. The sense ‘small carpet’ dates from the early 19th century. So too is rugged (Middle English). ‘Shaggy’ was an early sense of rugged as was ‘rough-coated’ (in descriptions of horses).

Definition of rag in:

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There are 5 main definitions of rag in English:

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rag5

Line breaks: rag
Pronunciation: /rɑːɡ
 
/

noun

Variant of raga.

Definition of rag in:

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