Definition of ragtag in English:



  • attributive Untidy, disorganized, or incongruously varied in character.

    ‘a ragtag group of idealists’
    • ‘Albums - if record labels even bothered to put them out - were just ragtag compilations of unrelated singles.’
    • ‘Verdi did write some music in Nabucco for the banda, that often ragtag group of local band players who demanded to play on stage in operas in many Italian cities in the 19th century.’
    • ‘By his sophomore year, Burt had secured some low-grade sponsorships while competing on a ragtag racing circuit that would, in 1987, coalesce into a bona fide World Cup series.’
    • ‘A zany, ragtag band of men from my old stomping grounds of Upstate New York decided to buy themselves a racehorse on Memorial Day weekend of 1995.’
    • ‘How would this ragtag bunch of different machines play together?’
    • ‘It's a myth that goes back to the revolution and the triumph of America's ragtag guerrillas against the rigid, hierarchical British army.’
    • ‘There was no word about the 12-year-old twins who lead this ragtag army of around 100 mostly ethnic Karen fighters.’
    • ‘Thus begins a story of three generations of ragtag heroes fighting against the alien invasion.’
    • ‘Everyone defers to him, especially his main man, a clubfooted ghetto intellectual known as Smush, and the other members of Smush's ragtag crew.’
    • ‘Adding to the fun is a bit of inspired genre-hopping marked by the entrance of Frank's neighbours, a trio of misfits that form a kind of ragtag support group for him.’
    • ‘They were ragtag adventurers, all on the road together for different reasons, as fate would have it.’
    • ‘We think of Washington at Valley Forge, or we think of Washington with his ragtag band of militia men beating the British.’
    • ‘Governments, international agencies and private charities have begun to train the region's ragtag health care corps to treat children in a model that could spread throughout Africa.’
    • ‘At the last election, the Lib Dems were the ‘none of the above’ party - a depository of ragtag protest votes which translated into 16 more seats.’
    • ‘A small, ragtag band of idealists facing overwhelming odds decides to gamble on a course of action judged either foolish or brilliant, depending on the outcome.’
    • ‘And there's a marvelous, almost throwaway moment where Shaun and his ragtag band of survivors meet up with another group who look, mysteriously, a great deal like Shaun's group.’
    • ‘Our little ragtag bunch of kids made my friend's party a success by creating a fun experience.’
    • ‘He is widely believed to have fueled the war in support of one of the fighting parties, to which he committed ragtag militias that perpetrated unspeakable atrocities.’
    • ‘As our ragtag troupe passed the cafeteria in the West Mall Centre we chanced upon a stack of trays.’
    • ‘Rather than pout, she joined an unofficial, ragtag team that took on all comers.’


  • A disreputable or disorganized group of people.

    ‘the ragtag had been organized into some kind of marching order’
    • ‘In more prosaic moments she comments on a ragtag of fellow travellers, landlords and farmers, and lorry drivers who don't know the country code of how to pass horses on the road.’
    • ‘Rather oddly, the fireman sporting a handlebar moustache about to sip a saucer of hot cocoa is ignoring the fire ragtag behind him and turns his back on two colleagues who are tackling it.’
    • ‘The people I have known have been a scruffy lot, a ragtag of mongrels from all over the place, but I would not change them for the world.’
    • ‘Our job in 2003 is to first make and then keep this disparate ragtag of a Government honest.’
    • ‘People are booing, and I don't even try to stop them as this ragtag of veteran-looking musicians play on.’
    • ‘This was the case when the US, the UK, and a ragtag of minor allies invaded the country in March.’
    • ‘Although a far from usual setting for a comedy series, the inmates were not too problematic or insane but merely a ragtag of eccentrics who had opted out of life.’


Early 19th century: superseding earlier tag-rag and tag and rag (see rag, tag).