One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Handle roughly; beat up.
- ‘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.’
- 1.1US archaic Kill, especially by strangling or hanging.
1An unattractively thin person or animal.
skin and bone, stickView synonyms
- ‘Xio, who now was wearing a very displeased face replied, ‘My finals don't start till noon you little scrag!’’
- ‘She is a tall scrag of a woman, crouched in profile, alone on a steep verge above the relentless Florida traffic.’
- ‘She's a dud, a bit of a scrag if you ask me.’
- ‘I'm not about to let that two-bit scrag get a piece of my action,’ she told journalists.’
- ‘They had me and the rest of those scrags and scalawags gyrating all over in some sort of fiendish trance!’
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’.
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