Main definitions of rag in English

: rag1rag2rag3rag4rag5

rag1

noun

  • 1A piece of old cloth, especially one torn from a larger piece, used typically for cleaning things.

    ‘he wiped his hands on an oily rag’
    [mass noun] ‘a piece of rag’
    • ‘He leaned down to gather clean water in the rag for rinsing, running the cloth over the same areas.’
    • ‘The material looked to be nothing more than a small piece of an old rag or the corner of an old handkerchief.’
    • ‘She hurried over to one of the cabinets, not waiting for an answer, and pulled out a bottle of witch hazel and two clean rags.’
    • ‘He searches through drawers and finds a rag to clean the kit.’
    • ‘Christie kept her eyes fixed on the girl as she wiped her hands clean on a rag and straightened her apron, finally coming out of the kitchen into the hall.’
    • ‘It hadn't taken Lee long to come back with a clean wet cloth before the cold rag was pressed to Kris' scalp.’
    • ‘There should be a clean rag under my pillow on the cot.’
    • ‘Then she turns back around and hands me a rag, ‘Go clean off the tables then get out of here.’’
    • ‘Pure-white, 100-percent cotton rags are the choice of professional painters.’
    • ‘Though it follows no known pattern of quiltmaking, and though it is made of bits and pieces of worthless rags, it is obviously the work of a person of powerful imagination and deep spiritual feeling.’
    • ‘The woman strode quickly to the tables, scooped up a few fallen petals, and dusted the throne with a clean rag, though it was already sparkling magnificence.’
    • ‘‘Here, let me help you,’ he picked a rag and started cleaning Jonas' closet doors.’
    • ‘Then he disassembled the rifle and cleaned it with rags and a long, thin brush.’
    • ‘Waving pieces of wing fabric and burning oily rags in a bucket, the men enthusiastically entered into this exercise, mindful that it might save them from another night at sea.’
    • ‘Finally, polish the tiles with soapy water and a rag or sponge to remove the dried-on film of grout.’
    • ‘Forty-five years ago, he duked it out with his father over whether to expand into uniforms from the business of reclaiming and cleaning industrial rags.’
    • ‘Quickly, he ran to grab some rags to clean up, shaking his head - he knew he'd ruined his chance.’
    • ‘Presently she came back with a kettle of water still warm from the noon fire and a bundle of clean rags.’
    • ‘Before she could even get to the rags to start cleaning, she collapsed on the floor.’
    • ‘Even pieces of rags were shoved into the gaps peeping through the corners of its locked door.’
    piece of cloth, bit of cloth, fragment of cloth, scrap of cloth, cloth
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Old or tattered clothes.
      • ‘A lone figure in tattered oily rags walked away from the work pit, ignoring the grunts and noise as slaves returned to their tasks.’
      • ‘These women, of every age of life, with their tattered rags falling off their thin arms, stood silent as we passed.’
      • ‘The city and its people were immaculately clean, the paths and squares swept, and the humblest canoemen clean in his rags.’
      • ‘The photograph depicts two youths in horrendously tattered rags.’
      • ‘But they don't moan, because it's not that big a deal; they simply don their gaudy rags and their dancing shoes and get on with it.’
      • ‘Clothed in gray rags, the expression on her face was happier than anyone else's Marcy had ever seen: half joy, half, Marcy perceived, stark, raving mad.’
      • ‘He had a clean appearance despite his rags and an honest weary face.’
      • ‘There's one guy who gets on the tube with an accordion, while his son, in tattered rags, goes up and down the aisles with a Pringles can to collect spare change.’
      • ‘In rags she huddled in the corner of her dank cell.’
      • ‘There was no water to drink or wash in and children were begging, dressed in filthy rags.’
      • ‘He is barely recognisable among the grime, dressed in filthy rags and as anaemic and leaden as his surroundings.’
      • ‘You could see the homeless on the streets, in their tattered rags and scraps of what were once new, clean clothes; they were all begging.’
      • ‘He was shabbily dressed, but not in tattered rags as many of the beggars had been.’
      • ‘The ‘paint’ consisted of about ten people dressed in multicloured rags who either held on or let go of the roller as the effect required.’
      • ‘Who would leave a child in this kind of weather in nothing but rags?’
      • ‘Their faces are scarred from infections caused by sandfly bites, and they are dressed in filthy rags.’
      • ‘At the welcoming ceremony all the children lined up, looking like brilliant, unidentifiable flowers in their rags and robes of reds and maroons.’
      • ‘As part of a campaign to tame his wild bride, the groom showed up late, wearing rags and old boots, and carrying a broken sword.’
      • ‘Why were the noble elite of an advanced Iron Age tribe dressed in drab rags and covered in mud?’
      • ‘They were dressed and starring blankly around the room at the other girls who were obviously forcing themselves out of bed and into their tattered rags.’
    2. 1.2The remnants of something.
      ‘she clung to the rags of her self-control’
    3. 1.3archaic [with negative]The smallest scrap of cloth or clothing.
      ‘not a rag of clothing has arrived to us this winter’
  • 2informal A newspaper, typically one regarded as being of low quality.

    ‘the local rag’
    • ‘I'm a health care reporter for our local rag.’
    • ‘There are tabloid rags that sully the name of reporting, and there are informed, articulate blogs that raise this medium to a far more rarefied level.’
    • ‘This was a respectable newspaper and not another of those despicable rags printed in other towns.’
    • ‘Verily, we must be living in a golden age of journalism if the number of prize-winning rags and hacks is anything to go by.’
    • ‘Livingstone courted right wing rags like the Evening Standard, writing a restaurant column for them.’
    • ‘You find yourself warming to the fascist rag when they indulge in top-quality journalism like this.’
    • ‘Take the business of this newspaper, the rag that backed the rebel faction, and that was closed down for 60 days last month.’
    • ‘I finding that reading the letters in my local rag gives me an insight into the strength of feeling about key issues.’
    • ‘It's a slice of journalism worthy of those other weekly rags, like Woman's Day.’
    • ‘Alfreda has seen an advert for that mechanical stage musical, ‘Starlight Express’ in the local rag.’
    • ‘Capitalism is alive and well in the square, even among the socialists, who sell their revolutionary-workers buttons and news rags.’
    • ‘Journalists working on the rag are up in arms over a series of anti-Gypsy stories printed over the last few weeks.’
    • ‘This was the tactic of the scandal rags and Hollywood gossip sheets, and it was just not done.’
    • ‘The second disturbing thing was this headline in my local rag.’
    • ‘He relieves some of his frustration by writing letters to the editor of the local rag and lovingly tends his collection of fountain pens.’
    • ‘Two weeks back they didn't publish personal ads in my local rag, then last week the kid that delivers the paper left it on top of the letterbox, allowing the rain to do its evil work.’
    • ‘At the moment I'm torn between having my death notice appear in the local paper for my area, or in the weekly rag that's published in my home town.’
    • ‘This is the kind of though-provoking journalism sorely lacking in some of our more prominent rags.’
    • ‘He interviewed some of rock's greatest musicians and eventually went on to become an editor of the legendary rock rag.’
    • ‘How did she work as a promising and up-rising journalist at one of the country's most popular tabloid rags?’

Phrases

  • be on the rag

    • informal Be menstruating.

      • ‘He said he didn't want to see some ugly broads moan about being on the rag.’
      • ‘In grade seven, she leaked red pen all over my seat so that I walked around all day like I was on the rag in my cool new white jeans.’
      • ‘And true, being on the rag makes us all more pains in the butt.’
      • ‘At first he was expecting his client to be some pimple face, tub of lard, that choked a guy who made a fat joke while she was on the rag but seeing this girl he now new better than to think of the typical.’
      • ‘Now that everyone in the store was informed of the fact that I was on the rag, I made my selection and took it up to the counter.’
  • chew the rag

  • in rags

    • 1(of clothes) tattered and torn.

      • ‘He was angry enough anyway, for not only were his clothes in rags, but they had now taken away his dagger.’
      • ‘Her fists and claws tore away at his jumpsuit until his shirt was in rags and his bare chest marked with deep cuts and scratches.’
      • ‘In stumbled a wretch of a man, tall and athletically built, yet covered in dirt and blood, his clothes in rags, his eyes unsteadily flickering from side to side.’
      • ‘His clothes were in rags and had been washed away by the Sea, and she marvelled at the grace and the beauty of his form.’
      • ‘They were unwashed, their clothes all in rags, visible signs of beatings and hunger on them.’
      • ‘His clothes were in rags, covered with holes and dirt.’
      • ‘It turned out to be John, ‘looking very poorly in health, with all his teeth gone and his clothes in rags.’’
      • ‘Her dresses were always in rags from riding the ‘manly way’ and from following her older brother around.’
      1. 1.1(of a person) wearing tattered old clothes.
        • ‘She thought it strange that children's clothes were sold here after all, for she had seen very few children, and all of them in rags.’
        • ‘However, Geneva found that the alley was not ‘vacant’ for two men in rags leered at her from afar.’
        • ‘She was holding at her shawl as she stood in rags and bare feet.’
        • ‘The poor and sick wandered the streets at night in rags.’
        • ‘Washington didn't give up when his soldiers were in rags and despair at Valley Forge.’
        • ‘Laborers in rags are squatting in the mud in front of the building.’
        • ‘Everyone stared at me as I entered; after all, I was in rags and looking very distraught and deranged.’
        • ‘When my wife and I arrived here, she was in rags, scared of her own shadow,’ I growled.’
        • ‘An old man in rags walks past slowly, looking around.’
        • ‘Kids in rags walked helplessly around with ‘puppy-dog’ looks in their faces.’

Origin

Middle English: probably a back-formation from ragged or raggy.

Pronunciation:

rag

/raɡ/

Main definitions of rag in English

: rag1rag2rag3rag4rag5

rag2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Make fun of (someone) in a loud, boisterous manner.

    • ‘I clearly recall ragging my mother for her expensive taste in clothing before I was even a pre-teen.’
    • ‘He keeps it light and he has just the right touch and timing to know when to rag me about it and when to lay off and let me do things in my own time.’
    • ‘Apparently they are not impressed about my ragging their class mascot.’
    • ‘Nick's friends rag him about being Suzanne's lapdog, especially after they find out Nick has offered to drive her to the airport.’
    • ‘It's like watching your child being ragged in the schoolyard.’
    • ‘Hey, I'm not ragging you guys, it's nice to know someone actually reads my stuff…’
    • ‘In interviews, he is so polished and articulate that his teammates rag him as an Ivy Leaguer (he went to Nebraska).’
    • ‘I apologize to Mr. Russell for ragging him but that's what happens when you have a rock garden named after you.’
    • ‘Mind you, that didn't stop us from ragging him rotten all day about being ‘under-equipped’!’
    • ‘Instead of being ragged and teased on all year like I was last year, I decided to bring just a few cassettes that I made over the summer.’
    • ‘The lads were ragging me about that, declaring I had lost my touch, he laughed.’
    • ‘They rag each other endlessly about race and all its permutations, yet two men couldn't be more bonded together than they are in these mysteries.’
  • 2Rebuke severely.

    • ‘If any male relative comes to the village after sunset, the women rag him and sometimes beat him up.’

noun

British
  • 1[usually as modifier] A program of stunts, parades, and other entertainments organized by students to raise money for charity.

    ‘rag week’
    • ‘It made me laugh, even though it had a kind of amateur, student rag week kind of feel to it.’
    • ‘Although in the past I know I have fully expressed my dislike for getting taken to school by my parents, during rag week we really had no choice.’
    • ‘Nowhere, did I witness a promotion for soft drinks, sandwiches, soup etc. during rag week.’
    • ‘He wasn't a med student collecting in the street for rag week.’
    • ‘Police have given permission for the march to take place although refused to let it begin from York Minster because of the University's student rag week.’
    • ‘In rag week the college's Dome Bar was closed in an effort to encourage moderate alcohol drinking.’
    • ‘Three men who met as students had been singing university rag songs at the end of a day-long reunion when tragedy struck on a country lane, an inquest heard yesterday.’
    • ‘He was among 1,000 students involved in the rag procession through the streets of Cheltenham on a Saturday morning.’
    • ‘The whole gang get kidnapped by students indulging in some sort of rag week prank.’
    • ‘We'd planned loads of entertainment in the bar right across rag week including comedians, bands and DJs.’
    • ‘For the past eight decades or so, the Union has been housed in its distinctive premises at the bottom of University Avenue, regularly stormed by rival Strathclyde students on rag days.’
    • ‘The Institute closed its bar during rag week last year and has developed a code of practice for all drinks-related activity on campus.’
    • ‘The rag week, from February 8 to 16, is the main source of fundraising.’
    • ‘Half the time they act like they are taking part in a university rag week.’
    • ‘You can't really win against a load of rag week stunts, can you?’
    • ‘A college which closed its bar during rag week last year has vowed to continue its clampdown on alcohol abuse.’
    • ‘The spectacle of seeing drunken teenage boys and girls falling on the streets early in the afternoon shocked many in Sligo during rag week.’
    fundraising event, charity event, charitable event, collection
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal, dated A boisterous prank or practical joke.

Phrasal Verbs

  • rag on

    • 1Complain about or criticize continually.

      • ‘He remembered his own father ragging on him about his hair and clothes.’
      • ‘This guy is the meekest of mice, since he rags on a person he supposedly cares about.’
      • ‘Any guy who rags on the color of your shoelaces is scary.’
      • ‘I got a reasonably nice and thoughtful email from the guy I ragged on in my last post, although now I'm afraid to go to the site and read his ‘public’ reply.’
      • ‘You lie there defeated, ragging on yourself for the failure, mad at the judges because this can't be fair.’
      • ‘‘Everyone rags on Baltimore, but I think it's a great city,’ says the sophomore from Rhode Island.’
      • ‘I hated to be late because Kristi used to rag on me when I kept her waiting.’
      • ‘For example, my wife rags on me semi-constantly for not looking people directly in the eye when I'm introduced.’
      • ‘Let her know you want her to quit ragging on you, pronto.’
      • ‘I mean ever since I got here, you've just been ragging on me left and right.’
    • 2Make fun of; tease constantly.

Origin

Mid 18th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

rag

/raɡ/

Main definitions of rag in English

: rag1rag2rag3rag4rag5

rag3

noun

  • A large, coarse roofing slate.

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense a hard sedimentary rock that can be broken into slabs): of unknown origin; later associated with rag.

Pronunciation:

rag

/raɡ/

Main definitions of rag in English

: rag1rag2rag3rag4rag5

rag4

noun

  • A ragtime composition or tune.

    • ‘Composed rags were widely published and became extremely popular among white amateur pianists, though it is likely that the black creators of ragtime would have played in a much freer manner than the written music suggests.’
    • ‘It definitely puts his performances of Scott Joplin's rags in a different light!’
    • ‘It is based on traditions of rag music and social protest lyrics.’
    • ‘Each book contains ballads, blues, Latin pieces and rags.’

Origin

Late 19th century: perhaps from ragged; compare with ragtime.

Pronunciation:

rag

/raɡ/

Main definitions of rag in English

: rag1rag2rag3rag4rag5

rag5

noun

Pronunciation:

rag

/raɡ/