1830–40; nag1 + -ing2

naggingness, noun
unnagging, adjective
unnaggingly, adverb Unabridged


1 [nag]
verb (used with object), nagged, nagging.
to annoy by persistent faultfinding, complaints, or demands.
to keep in a state of troubled awareness or anxiety, as a recurrent pain or problem: She had certain misgivings that nagged her.
verb (used without object), nagged, nagging.
to find fault or complain in an irritating, wearisome, or relentless manner (often followed by at ): If they start nagging at each other, I'm going home.
to cause pain, discomfort, distress, depression, etc. (often followed by at ): This headache has been nagging at me all day.
Also, nagger. a person who nags, especially habitually.
an act or instance of nagging.

1815–25; < Old Norse nagga to rub, grumble, quarrel; akin to Middle Low German naggen to irritate. See gnaw

unnagged, adjective

1. pester, harass, hector, irritate, vex. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To nagging
World English Dictionary
nag1 (næɡ)
vb (when intr, often foll by at) , nags, nagging, nagged
1.  to scold or annoy constantly
2.  to be a constant source of discomfort or worry (to): toothache nagged him all day
3.  a person, esp a woman, who nags
[C19: of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish nagga to gnaw, irritate, German nagen]

nag2 (næɡ)
1.  derogatory often a horse
2.  a small riding horse
[C14: of Germanic origin; related to neigh]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

"annoy by scolding," 1828, originally a dialectal word, probably ultimately from a Scand. source (cf. O.N. gnaga "to complain," lit. "to bite, gnaw," dial. Swed. and Norw. nagga "to gnaw") related to O.E. gnagan "to gnaw" (see gnaw).

"old horse," c.1400, nagge "small riding horse," of unknown origin, perhaps related to Du. negge, neg (but these are more recent than the Eng. word). Term of abuse is a transferred sense, first recorded 1598.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
By day nine, one of the boys was forced to withdraw because of a nagging ankle
So, our feathers have been ruffled lately by a nagging fear that one of our
  pullets is a rooster.
Most of this zone gets a nagging afternoon wind in summer.
Different approaches but with the same nagging feelings driving it.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature