Definition of scrag in English:



[with object]
  • 1British informal Handle roughly; beat up.

    ‘my brothers were hoping he'd put a foot wrong so they could scrag him’
    • ‘I saw one group of traders run off like a startled herd, while three police, like a pack of hunting dogs, scragged the least nimble.’
    1. 1.1Rugby Grasp (an opponent) by placing an arm around the neck.
      ‘he was scragged by Budd and Cooper came away with the ball’
      • ‘Our No 8 Jim Bell had scragged him on the line as he had tried to kick the ball clear, but it fell straight on the floor, so I dived on it to score.’
      • ‘Again the Australian referee courted controversy when he seemed to indicate a Scottish penalty advantage but gave none when Blair was duly scragged by the green jerseys.’
      • ‘There is talk that Cameron Ling is having his jumper framed, complete with a picture below of him scragging Buckley to the ground.’
      • ‘He was scragged by two players, disappeared under a heap of bodies, but emerged from the bottom of the ensuing ruck none the worse for wear.’
      • ‘Scotland still had their chances and on 59 minutes De Marigny was scragged by Ally Hogg and the Italian No.10 held on too long.’
  • 2US archaic Kill by strangling or hanging.

    ‘many an honester man than her has been scragged’
    1. 2.1dated, informal Kill; murder.
      ‘you can think up a nicer way of scragging me than by drowning, because you know I loathe water’
      kill, do to death, put to death, assassinate, execute, liquidate, eliminate, neutralize, dispatch, butcher, cut to pieces, slaughter, massacre, wipe out, mow down
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  • 1An unattractively thin person or animal.

    ‘his companion was a thin scrag of a man’
    • ‘Xio, who now was wearing a very displeased face replied, ‘My finals don't start till noon you little scrag!’’
    • ‘They had me and the rest of those scrags and scalawags gyrating all over in some sort of fiendish trance!’
    • ‘She's a dud, a bit of a scrag if you ask me.’
    • ‘She is a tall scrag of a woman, crouched in profile, alone on a steep verge above the relentless Florida traffic.’
    • ‘I'm not about to let that two-bit scrag get a piece of my action,’ she told journalists.’
    skin and bone, stick
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  • 2informal, archaic A person's neck.

    • ‘‘I don't like this scrag, ‘he answers, pulling at the skin at the top of his neck.’’


Mid 16th century (as a noun): perhaps an alteration of Scots and northern English crag ‘neck’. The verb (mid 18th century) developed the sense ‘handle roughly’ from the early use ‘hang, strangle’.