Main definitions of nag in English

: nag1nag2

nag1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Annoy or irritate (a person) with persistent fault-finding or continuous urging.

    ‘she constantly nags her daughter about getting married’
    with infinitive ‘she nagged him to do the housework’
    no object ‘he's always nagging at her for staying out late’
    • ‘She was a better influence on him and had nagged and nagged him to get a job.’
    • ‘I had to nag him a bit, but he did go to get it checked because he doesn't usually have a cough, so this was something different.’
    • ‘I knew my life would be hell because she would nag me all the way through.’
    • ‘Wallace nagged his father, an accountant, to take him to a meeting during the by-election.’
    • ‘Asked if it was right to say she had nagged her husband in their marriage, she replied: ‘Yes, it is perfectly true.’’
    • ‘I'm adjusting my diet but it may be time to go nag the doctor for a change of medication.’
    • ‘My parents know what I do, and whilst not thrilled, are resigned enough not to nag me and trust that this is a temporary situation.’
    • ‘We extend a welcome to all you women who constantly nag your husbands to complete those unfinished jobs, now is your chance to learn the skills yourself.’
    • ‘So I nag them, they nag me, and it's a collaborative effort.’
    • ‘‘As much as they might have nagged you when you were younger, you know they meant well,’ Jim says.’
    • ‘He keeps telling me I need to exercise and he nags me about it constantly, also commenting on what I should eat and ways to fight nausea.’
    • ‘Jim forsakes family for work, and Sarah nags him about it.’
    • ‘All I can do is offer tea and sympathy and resist the urge to nag him to go see a dentist.’
    • ‘Her mother is constantly nagging her about what she is going to do with her life.’
    • ‘I used to nag her but she refused to live under a siege mentality.’
    • ‘But I certainly wouldn't want to be using my time to nag people about smoking and exercising.’
    • ‘Liam had always been the annoying kid next door who my mother constantly nagged me to be nice to.’
    • ‘I'm a formerly skinny guy who has put on quite a bit of weight after my girlfriend nagged me constantly to do so.’
    • ‘Every day, we would nag my big sister Nadia to find out when our mother was going to come and fetch us.’
    • ‘She will not nag you and will always be the first to admit she was wrong when you've had a disagreement.’
    shrewish, complaining, grumbling, fault-finding, scolding, carping, cavilling, criticizing
    harass, keep on at, go on at, harp on at, badger, keep after, give someone a hard time, get on someone's back, persecute, chivvy, hound, harry, bully, pick on, criticize, find fault with, keep complaining to, moan at, moan on at, grumble at, henpeck, carp at, scold, upbraid, berate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Be persistently painful, troublesome, or worrying to.
      no object ‘something nagged at the back of his mind’
      • ‘I closed my eyes a moment, nagging worries melting away for the time being.’
      • ‘She was trembling, and her stomach felt empty, nagging as it did when she was scared.’
      • ‘There is, however, one nagging worry in the regional breakdown of these UK figures.’
      • ‘Callie was about to shut down the file when something in the back of her mind began nagging.’
      • ‘For example, when Christine has had worries that nagged at her for days, she developed a dull backache.’
      • ‘Louis sat back down and tried to enjoy his breakfast, but worry nagged at him and he lost his appetite.’
      • ‘An idea was nagging in the back of her head but she hadn't quite let it come to surface.’
      • ‘Self-doubt and injury nagged and niggled without mercy.’
      • ‘However, I always had nagging doubts in the back of my mind: what if I wasn't white, young and healthy?’
      • ‘I have a nagging worry, too, that I'll never be able to run for higher office after having this blog for two years now.’
      • ‘Any more critical observations appear as afterthoughts or nagging doubts.’
      • ‘She hears it every day, niggling and nagging in the back of her mind, reminding her that she failed.’
      • ‘However, as I walked on, it keep nagging and pulling at the back of my mind.’
      • ‘However, there was something nagging about the melodies that caught my imagination.’
      • ‘The family went looking for the pair, but by 7pm, nagging worries turned to real fear.’
      • ‘But there are nagging doubts about just how durable this recovery really is.’
      • ‘He is happy with his lot but has one major regret nagging away at him.’
      • ‘The only faint worry still nagging at the back of his mind was about his dream.’
      • ‘Industry personifies these fears, and many within industry have nagging doubts that these fears are well founded.’
      • ‘I was making my way to the bathroom, when I heard Andrew ask Eden a question that had been nagging in my mind too.’
      persistent, continuous, lingering, niggling, troublesome, unrelenting, unremitting, unabating
      View synonyms

noun

  • 1A person who nags someone.

    • ‘Women put up with it because we don't want to be perceived as nags or, worse still, incompetent.’
    • ‘What I am getting at is, what if this person was a nag or very critical?’
    shrew, nagger, harpy, termagant, harridan
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A persistent feeling of anxiety.
      ‘he felt once again that little nag of doubt’
      • ‘It's a persistent nag, an ever-present question mark.’

Origin

Early 19th century (originally dialect in the sense ‘gnaw’): perhaps of Scandinavian or Low German origin; compare with Norwegian and Swedish nagga ‘gnaw, irritate’ and Low German ( g)naggen ‘provoke’.

Pronunciation

nag

/naɡ//næɡ/

Main definitions of nag in English

: nag1nag2

nag2

noun

informal, derogatory
  • 1A horse, especially one that is old or in poor health.

    • ‘He jokingly refuted suggestions his horse won the race because of rumours the nag had been given steroids.’
    • ‘‘Dave,’ we said, ‘You're wasting your money on the nags, you'll end up in mounds of debt.’’
    • ‘We both left slightly ahead, having cheered our nags with enthusiasm, a pint, and the best steak sandwich I've ever had.’
    • ‘This old nag is the supposedly wonderfully well-bred mare you're trying to sell me?’
    • ‘But it's not just any old nag, it's the champion racehorse Rock of Gibraltar - winner of seven consecutive Group One races.’
    • ‘But at betting on the nags, as any regular reader will know, I am a chronic loser, a completely hopeless case.’
    • ‘Why I find it so funny is that many trainers haven't a clue how their nags will do until they get to the racecourse, and if they do have an inkling, the last people they are likely to tell are the hacks.’
    • ‘The two nags in the stable were barely fit to trot, a tree root had knocked the floor of the rifle range off its foundation, bats had taken over the ham-radio shack.’
    • ‘Some are superb handlers of good horses, but less brilliant with moderate nags, or vice versa.’
    • ‘One of his horses runs today, another tomorrow, and his final nag will run on Saturday.’
    • ‘I earn my living with my horse and wagon, and this morning my nag died.’
    • ‘Molly, the horse I ride most often, is difficult, I think she'd be better off as a one rider horse than a Riding school nag.’
    • ‘In the meantime, borrow one of their nags for the challenging on-site cross-country course; or head for Dartmoor, which is particularly wonderful just now, its brackeny hills the colour of copper.’
    • ‘Horses are now on sale from any member of the Parents Association and if you would like to lend a hand selling a few nags, sheets are available at the school or from any committee member.’
    • ‘Admittedly the horse is blind, half lame and being whipped by a lying two-faced jockey, but even dead on its feet it still looks like a safer bet than the alternative nags.’
    • ‘Three crowns and an old nag she'd borrowed from a student (whose tribal language homework she'd done in exchange) would not buy her that automobile.’
    • ‘I'll never forget the look on her face the first time she sat on the old nag!’
    • ‘He'd come all the way on a poor nag who should have been retired to the pastures a long time ago.’
    • ‘They weren't exactly a friendly group - they had hard, cold eyes, and those that rode on horses had only nags.’
    • ‘Instead of pristine white snow, you'll get a drab gray winter wonderland; instead of an inky-black horse, you'll get a gray nag.’
    worn-out horse, old horse, hack, rosinante
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic A horse suitable for riding as opposed to a draft animal.

Origin

Middle English: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

nag

/næɡ//naɡ/