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[fag] /fæg/
verb (used with object), fagged, fagging.
to tire or weary by labor; exhaust (often followed by out):
The long climb fagged us out.
British. to require (a younger public-school pupil) to do menial chores.
Nautical. to fray or unlay the end of (a rope).
verb (used without object), fagged, fagging.
Chiefly British. to work until wearied; work hard:
to fag away at French.
British Informal. to do menial chores for an older public-school pupil.
Slang. a cigarette.
a fag end, as of cloth.
a rough or defective spot in a woven fabric; blemish; flaw.
Chiefly British. drudgery; toil.
British Informal. a younger pupil in a British public school required to perform certain menial tasks for, and submit to the hazing of, an older pupil.
a drudge.
Origin of fag1
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English fagge broken thread in cloth, loose end (of obscure origin); sense development apparently: drooping end > to droop, tire > to make weary > drudgery, drudge (compare relationship of flag1 to flag3); (def 6) a shortening of fag end (a butt, hence a cigarette)
Related forms
unfagged, adjective


[fag] /fæg/
Usage alert
The terms faggot and fag are both used with disparaging intent and are perceived as highly insulting. However, faggot (but not fag) is sometimes used within the gay community as a positive term of self-reference.
noun, Slang.
Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a male homosexual.
Offensive. a contemptible or dislikable person.
1920-25, Americanism; by shortening
Related forms
faggish, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fag
Historical Examples
  • fag in mouth he dozed, was startled into wakefulness by a call from the Padre.

    Norman Ten Hundred A. Stanley Blicq
  • fag, a schoolboy who performs a servants offices to a superior school-mate.

  • "fag wanted," Sinclair murmured, hardly looking up from his imposition.

    Sonia Between two Worlds Stephen McKenna
  • Sentimental writers have gushed over the beautiful relation which it establishes between fag-Master and fag.

    Seeing and Hearing George W. E. Russell
  • fagg′oting, fag′oting, a kind of embroidery in which some of the cross-threads are drawn together in the middle.

  • Lucy returned to the stage for her scenes in the second act (the last in which she appears) with Sir Lucius and fag.

    No Name Wilkie Collins
  • fag Alley was reached and in its vicinity several machine guns were captured, and the teams either killed or taken prisoners.

    The Story of the "9th King's" in France Enos Herbert Glynne Roberts
  • fag, a schoolboy who performs a servants offices to a superior schoolmate.

    The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten
British Dictionary definitions for fag


(informal) a boring or wearisome task: it's a fag having to walk all that way
(Brit) (esp formerly) a young public school boy who performs menial chores for an older boy or prefect
verb fags, fagging, fagged
(informal) when tr, often foll by out. to become or cause to become exhausted by hard toil or work
(usually intransitive) (Brit) to do or cause to do menial chores in a public school: Brown fags for Lee
Word Origin
C18: of obscure origin


(Brit) a slang word for cigarette
a fag end, as of cloth
Word Origin
C16 (in the sense: something hanging loose, flap): of obscure origin


(slang, mainly US & Canadian) short for faggot2
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fag

"to droop, decline, tire," 1520s, apparently an alteration of flag (v.) in its sense of "droop." Transitive sense of "to make (someone or something) fatigued" is first attested 1826. Related: Fagged; fagging.


British slang for "cigarette" (originally, especially, the butt of a smoked cigarette), 1888, probably from fag-end "extreme end, loose piece" (1610s), from fag "loose piece" (late 15c.), which is perhaps related to fag (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for fag



: frenetic hot-rhythm dancing, the cheap fag jokes/ like a fag party


  1. A cigarette; butt, coffin nail: He passed them swell fags around (1888+)
  2. A male homosexual; faggot, queer: Fags are certain to arouse the loathing of all decent fiction addicts/ sicker by a long shot than any fag, drag, thang, or simple gay man or woman (1923+)


(also fagout) To fatigue; exhaust •The sense ''to study hard, go without sleep,'' is attested in Cambridge University slang by 1803: This sort of work fags me quickly (1930+)

[origin unknown; the ''homosexual'' sense may be connected with the British term fag, ''the boy servant, and inferentially the catamite, of a public-school upperclassman''; perhaps influenced by Yiddish faygele, ''homosexual,'' literally ''bird, little bird'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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