One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Designating a collector or seller of old clothes and other discarded items that can be reused; especially in "rag-and-bone man".
2Designating or relating to the collecting and selling of old clothes and other discarded items; especially designating a shop from which such items are sold (also figurative).
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Proceedings of the Old Bailey. From rag + and + bone.
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