One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1usually dagsNZ A lock of wool matted with dung hanging from the hindquarters of a sheep.
- ‘The fleece is so cut that the wool around the base of the legs and backside runs in a continuous line, from which it is easy to strip the dags, the stains and the prickles.’
- ‘Farmers and farmers-hands may regularly cut off the dags to keep their sheep clean.’
- ‘Besides reducing methane emissions, condensed tannins have other animal-related benefits, including improved milk yields, increased liveweight gain, decreased internal parasite burden and reduced bloat, dags and fly strike.’
2NZ informal An entertainingly eccentric person; a character.‘your father must have been a bit of a dag’
- ‘Although it is hard to play favourites with such a loveable bunch of dags, I must confess to preferring mum Janelle to the rest.’
3informal A staid or socially inept person.
- ‘Floyd may be a bit of a dag, but he's a pretty nifty player when it comes to badminton!’
- ‘We've all known people like Steve, the likeable dag with big dreams.’
- 3.1 An untidy or dirty-looking person.
verbdags, dagged, dagging[with object]Australian, NZ
Cut dags from (a sheep)‘we failed to have the ewes dagged’
- ‘Dagging sheep is the worst job on the farm.’
- ‘Robert has returned to the farm to dag sheep and I'm staying here with the dog, cats and the baby.’
- ‘Dag the sheep at least seven days before shearing.’
- ‘Ideally sheep should be dagged before shearing particularly if they are excessively soiled.’
- ‘The flock is moved to fresh pasture and the sheep are dagged to prepare for shearing.’
rattle one's dags
informal Hurry up.
hurry up, accelerate, move faster, go faster, drive faster, get a move on, put a spurt on, open it up, increase speed, pick up speed, gather speedView synonyms
- ‘So if Ivy isn't quick enough with the shearing I'll just have to tell her to rattle her dags!’
- ‘Rattle your dags darlin’, let's get out of here.’
Late Middle English (denoting a hanging pointed part of something): possibly related to tag. dag (sense 1 of the noun) dates from the early 17th century; dag (sense 2 of the noun) is a transferred use of English dialect meaning ‘a challenge’.
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