Definition of drag in English:

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Pronunciation: /draɡ/

verb (drags, dragging, dragged)

1 [with object] Pull (someone or something) along forcefully, roughly, or with difficulty: we dragged the boat up the beach figurative I dragged my eyes away
More example sentences
  • Handling children roughly by dragging them along by their arms was totally inappropriate behaviour and potentially dangerous to the child or children concerned.
  • Verek was walking with difficulty, dragging a body along side him.
  • He pulled on her roughly, trying to drag her back towards the shore, but wasn't making very good progress.
haul, pull, tug, heave, lug, draw;
trail, trawl, tow
informal yank
1.1Take (someone) to or from a place or event, despite their reluctance: my girlfriend is dragging me off to Atlantic City for a week
More example sentences
  • He drags David to the event, and ends up proposing to his new girlfriend.
  • It also meant that, as her best friend, I was usually dragged to whatever event that gossip may lead her too.
  • Like a mad tugboat, my friend Michael nonetheless seemed eager to drag me to the event.
1.2 (drag oneself) Go somewhere wearily, reluctantly, or with difficulty: I have to drag myself out of bed each day
More example sentences
  • The church is dragging itself, however reluctantly in some quarters, into the 21st century.
  • Reluctantly we dragged ourselves away from bashing rock solid flowers frozen to minus 196 degrees Celsius.
  • Reluctantly, I drag myself from the security of sleep.
1.3Move (an icon or other image) across a computer screen using a tool such as a mouse.
Example sentences
  • If you'd like to move your text, click and hold your left mouse button to drag your text to your desired position.
  • In graphical editors, to change a block of text, click and drag the mouse to highlight the text, then click an icon or menu option or type a keyboard shortcut.
  • Internet Radio stations are added by browsing to the website, and dragging the icon of the desired station into the drop window.
1.4 [no object] (Of a person’s clothes or an animal’s tail) trail along the ground: the nuns walked in meditation, their habits dragging on the grass
More example sentences
  • Her ghoulish black clothing dragged tragically along the ground.
  • Cherry strolled slowly, her dark red skirt dragging along the ground.
  • Taidra quickly moved to her closet door, her servant dress dragging along the ground.
1.5 [no object] (drag at) Catch hold of and pull (something): desperately, Jinny dragged at his arm
More example sentences
  • He once said to me ‘I can't understand fellows pulling and dragging at a player, if you go for a ball don't waste petrol, make one journey.’
  • With the considerable football hype that is pulling and dragging at his sporting consciousness, it is vital that the senior hurlers are not overlooked.
  • They are outwardly charming but ultimately ruled by darker forces, like the fierce undertow that pulls and drags at the coast of the Breton island where this beguiling novel is set.
1.6 [no object] Engage in a drag race: they were caught dragging on Francis Lewis Blvd
1.7(Of a ship) trail (an anchor) along the seabed, causing the ship to drift.
Example sentences
  • The crew made a distress call after their 47 foot yacht started dragging its anchor and was in danger of going ashore onto the rocks.
  • Many a boat has dragged anchor and been smashed to pieces there.
  • Her propeller shaft was fouled and she was dragging her anchor, so Endurance, some 25 miles away when the call went out, closed in at top speed to act as on-scene commander.
1.8 [no object] (Of an anchor) fail to hold, causing a ship or boat to drift.
Example sentences
  • This allows a user to input the swing and drag circles and activates an alarm if the anchor begins to drag or another ship is about to move within the danger circle.
  • You are set for the night, unless the wind picks up and/or the tidal current causes your anchor to drag.
  • But once that expectational anchor began to drag, unions had reason to fear that inflation, once ignited, would persist.
1.9Search the bottom of (a river, lake, or the sea) with grapnels or nets: frogmen had dragged the local river
More example sentences
  • Lochs and rivers have been dragged by police divers, and mountain rescue teams have been called out to search the wild Argyll terrain for his body - but to no avail.
2 [with object] (drag something up) informal Deliberately mention an unwelcome or unpleasant fact: pieces of evidence about his early life were dragged up
More example sentences
  • Mobile phone records were dragged up as part of an investigation into insider trading, which embroiled one of the richest men in the City, before concluding there was no case to answer.
  • I can't believe they are dragging this story up again!
  • The current bad guys are dragging it up again to justify contemporary viciousness.
2.1 (drag someone/something into) Involve someone or something in (a situation or matter), typically when such involvement is inappropriate or unnecessary: he had no right to drag you into this sort of thing
More example sentences
  • It should be remembered that the army had a first strike doctrine, which dragged Europe into an unnecessary and highly destructive maelstrom.
  • Many thought he had dragged the country into an unnecessary war on pretenses of a threat that did not exist.
  • The letters that dragged him into the situation were written during this period.
2.2 (drag something in/into) Introduce an irrelevant or inappropriate subject: politics were never dragged into the conversation
2.3 (drag someone/something down) Bring someone or something to a lower level or standard: the economy will be dragged down by inefficient firms
More example sentences
  • I'm concerned that this school will be dragged down to the level of the other two.
  • I'll leave that to the gang of pie-in-the-sky crusaders who crawled out of the woodwork in force this week claiming the game has been dragged down to irreparable levels.
  • These yobs are dragging us down to their level.
3 [no object] (Of time, events, or activities) pass slowly and tediously: the day dragged—eventually it was time for bed
More example sentences
  • Time dragged slowly but somehow the hour passed, and the time came to go on through to the hall where the gig was being held.
  • Sunday dragged slowly on and it was a surprise when Frank phoned and told me we were going to leave early, as the captain had seen a big shoal of mackerel whilst on the way in.
  • She felt herself nodding off to sleep as the minutes dragged slowly by.
become tedious, pass slowly, creep along, hang heavy, wear on, go on too long, go on and on
3.1(Of a process or situation) continue at tedious and unnecessary length: the dispute between the two families dragged on for years
More example sentences
  • Hasani said the drafting process of the statute dragged on for over a year because it did not suit the interests of the Rectorate.
  • In fact, so laborious was the process that it dragged on for months and went way over budget.
  • This process dragged on for over a year, while at the same time in the city, the gas and heating were cut off.
persist, continue, go on, carry on, extend, run on, be protracted, endure, prevail
3.2 [with object] (drag something out) Protract something unnecessarily: he dragged out the process of serving them
More example sentences
  • There will be no sequel since it would unnecessarily be dragging the whole thing out and I don't have any ideas.
  • Even if the sentence is reduced on appeal, he still seems certain to miss the competition as his lawyers and those of his club continue to drag the process out.
  • Ben was quiet, he continued with his pizza slowly, dragging the process out just to watch her squirm.
prolong, protract, draw out, spin out, string out, extend, lengthen, carry on, keep going, continue
4 [no object] (drag on) informal (Of a person) inhale the smoke from (a cigarette).
Example sentences
  • Smoking a cigar is altogether different from dragging on a cigarette.
  • I figured you had woken up at first until you started dragging on that cigarette without lighting it.
  • Once he's more or less settled, he drags on the cigarette, which he has already smoked almost down to the filter.


1The action of pulling something forcefully or with difficulty: the drag of the current
More example sentences
  • The dog of course, had to take me for an arm wrenching drag and Ditto looked on with some displeasure when she realised that the mad animal shouting at her was attached to me!
  • A downhill frozen start continued to a long uphill drag through a muddy wooded section before turning into the wind, past the start for a second lap.
  • However, the most efficient possible pure drag stroke is relatively simple to analyze.
pull, resistance, tug
1.1The longitudinal retarding force exerted by air or other fluid surrounding a moving object.
Example sentences
  • That friction-like drag slowed the moving cloud of atoms to a standstill, although each atom continued to move randomly near its place in the array.
  • Any increase in surface area will increase skin friction drag.
  • The presence of a longer disordered tag thus exerts a greater frictional drag, affecting the module tumbling in solution.
1.2 [in singular] A person or thing that impedes progress or development: Larry was turning out to be a drag on her career
More example sentences
  • Gains by both groups after encouraging figures from the company saw the FTSE shrug off the drag caused by weaker bank, pharmaceutical and telecom stocks.
  • Larry mentioned this year that he almost always has to build the roof for the missions, which I guess is a drag because they are complicated.
  • At present, they are more of an economic drag and a liability.
1.3 Fishing Unnatural motion of a fishing fly caused by the pull of the line.
Example sentences
  • With the wind blowing from left to right, I used the line drag to move the fly through each cast across and down like salmon fishing.
  • It took yards of line off a hard-set drag, and it all but pulled me off my ledge.
  • And any fish that can pull line off against ten pounds of drag is a fish that you ought to give line to anyway!
1.4 archaic An iron shoe that can be applied as a brake to the wheel of a cart or wagon.
2 [in singular] informal A boring or tiresome person or thing: working nine to five can be a drag
More example sentences
  • His new album is not musically operatic - his songs are tediously boring, like a drag out of hell.
  • Sometimes, just sometimes, to only work becomes either a drag or just too boring.
  • Soon politics will no longer be a boring drag and life could get very regal in the Aras.
bore, nuisance, bother, trouble, pest, annoyance, trial, chore, vexation
informal pain, pain in the neck, headache, hassle, buzzkill
3 informal An act of inhaling smoke from a cigarette: he took a long drag on his cigarette
More example sentences
  • He held the cigarette in his right hand, he twirled it, he flicked it, he put it to his lips and took long drags, inhaling the smoke, holding it in his lungs forever.
  • He lit his cigarette and took a long drag, blowing the smoke out towards her.
  • Fuora said grinning, she lit a cigarette and took a long drag then blew the smoke into Bree's face.
4Clothing more conventionally worn by the opposite sex, especially women’s clothes worn by a man: a fashion show, complete with men in drag [as modifier]: a live drag show
More example sentences
  • In drag, he has avoided the obvious pitfalls and manages to be quite moving.
  • In drag, the men play and create new identities.
  • For those who have never seen live drag king shows, this documentary is definitely an eye-opener.
5 short for drag race.
Example sentences
  • Having the family around makes for a great time for everyone, but we're reminded that the extra summer traffic means extra diligence on the highways to and from the drags.
  • Events held include bracket races, Jr. drag races, Thursday night street car races, and Friday night drags.
  • I think this is why we wear ear plugs at the drags - to keep the numbers from leaking out of our skulls.
5.1 informal A street or road: the main drag
5.2 historical A private vehicle like a stagecoach, drawn by four horses.
6A thing that is pulled along the ground or through water, in particular.
Example sentences
  • The car in front loses some of the drag at its rear.
  • "We usually limit a drag to maybe three trees," Murnaghan says.
6.1 historical A harrow used for breaking up the surface of land.
6.2An apparatus for dredging a river or for recovering the bodies of drowned people from a river, a lake, or the sea.
6.3 another term for dragnet.
7North American informal Influence over other people: they had the education but they didn’t have the drag
8A strong-smelling lure drawn before hounds as a substitute for a fox or other hunted animal.
Example sentences
  • If he took the time to investigate this issue further he would find that video evidence is available showing greyhounds enthusiastically following a drag lure.
  • Has there been any attempt on the part of the drag or bloodhound to devise a new form of the sport that might suit people that are not used to hunting in any way?
  • Hunting the drag in all its forms is the future of hunting.
8.1A hunt using a strong-smelling lure.
Example sentences
  • But for those people who want to ride to hounds, collectively they may go once and try it, be it a fox hunt or a drag hunt.
  • In spite of that, a drag hunt has existed for many years and still exists today.
  • The members remain free to assemble together for a mock chase, or a drag hunt or simply a communal ride.
9 Music One of the basic patterns (rudiments) of drumming, consisting of a stroke preceded by two grace notes, which are usually played with the other stick. See also ruff4.



drag one's feet

Walk slowly and wearily or with difficulty.
Example sentences
  • Slowly, dragging his feet, he walked toward the front entrance.
  • Jake gave a little groan and slowly walked over, dragging his feet like a man condemned to death.
  • Slowly she dragged her feet walking into the bathroom and splashed water on her face to wake her up.
(also drag one's heels) 1.1 (Of a person or organization) be deliberately slow or reluctant to act: the government has dragged its heels over permanent legislation
More example sentences
  • This rather seems to bear out his surmise… that they are deliberately dragging their heels.
  • However, they are issued under a voluntary code and the organisation said there had been thousands of cases where firms had dragged their heels, or simply refused to issue codes.
  • Nothing was too little trouble for me and I dragged my heels reluctantly, putting off necessary chores until the last possible moment and even deferring some for another day.

drag someone/something through the mud

Make damaging allegations about someone or something: he felt enough loyalty to his old school not to drag its name through the mud
More example sentences
  • It’s sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person is impeded from doing good work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.
  • Candidates are dragging names through the mud.
  • Managing reputation risk: how to avoid being dragged through the mud .

in drag

Wearing the clothing of the opposite sex.
Example sentences
  • I remember surprising her in the bathroom, huge in her bathrobe, face covered in cold cream, looking like a man in drag.
  • It made me think of a bald Rasputin, the Czarina's hypnotic priest, in drag.
  • The comedian, who I think performs in drag, just won for a comedy special.

Phrasal verbs

drag something out

Extract information from someone against their will: the truth was being dragged out of us
More example sentences
  • She may have some woman's nature in her, but she still had a warrior's heart and gave no excuses unless they were dragged out of her.
  • Each grows more suspicious of the others as possible motives are revealed and skeletons are dragged out of the closet.
  • Over the past year more and more details of the complex financial affairs have been dragged out of him, mainly as a result of the exhaustive trawl of banking institutions and other sources by the tribunal's legal team.


Middle English: from Old English dragan or Old Norse draga 'to draw'; the noun partly from Middle Low German dragge 'grapnel'.

  • The word drag comes from the same Old Norse root as draw (Old English), draught (Middle English), the type of cart known as a dray (Late Middle English), and possibly drudge (Middle English). The sense ‘a boring or tiresome person or thing’ developed in the early 19th century from the idea of an attachment that drags and hinders progress. The cumbersomeness of contemporary women's dress may also be behind the use of drag for ‘women's clothing worn by a man’, which is recorded from the 1870s. A street has been a drag since the middle of the 19th century. A description of London life in 1851 records a woman ‘whose husband has got a month for “griddling in the main drag” (singing in the high street)’. The term later became better known in the USA, especially in the main drag.

Words that rhyme with drag

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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: drag

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