rag on


2 [rag] Informal.
verb (used with object), ragged, ragging.
to scold.
to subject to a teasing, especially in an intense or prolonged way (often followed by on ): Some of the boys were ragging on him about his haircut.
British. to torment with jokes; play crude practical jokes on.
British. an act of ragging.

1790–1800; origin uncertain

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World English Dictionary
rag1 (ræɡ)
1.  a.  a small piece of cloth, such as one torn from a discarded garment, or such pieces of cloth collectively
 b.  (as modifier): a rag doll; a rag book; rag paper
2.  a fragmentary piece of any material; scrap; shred
3.  informal a newspaper or other journal, esp one considered as worthless, sensational, etc
4.  informal an item of clothing
5.  informal a handkerchief
6.  slang esp (Brit) nautical a flag or ensign
7.  lose one's rag to lose one's temper suddenly
[C14: probably back formation from ragged, from Old English raggig; related to Old Norse rögg tuft]

rag2 (ræɡ)
vb , rags, ragging, ragged
1.  to draw attention facetiously and persistently to the shortcomings or alleged shortcomings of (a person)
2.  (Brit) to play rough practical jokes on
3.  (Brit) a boisterous practical joke, esp one on a fellow student
4.  in British universities
 a.  a period, usually a week, in which various events are organized to raise money for charity, including a procession of decorated floats and tableaux
 b.  (as modifier): rag day
[C18: of uncertain origin]

rag3 (ræɡ)
1.  a piece of ragtime music
vb , rags, ragging, ragged
2.  (tr) to compose or perform in ragtime
[C20: shortened from ragtime]

rag4 (ræɡ)
a roofing slate that is rough on one side
[C13: of obscure origin]

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

c.1310, probably from O.N. rogg "shaggy tuft," earlier raggw-, or possibly from O.Dan. rag (see rug), or a back-formation from ragged (c.1300), which is from O.N. raggaðr "shaggy," via O.E. raggig "rag-like." It also may represent an unrecorded O.E. cognate of O.N. rogg.
As an insulting term for "newspaper, magazine" it dates from 1734; slang for "tampon, sanitary napkin" is attested from 1930s. Rags "personal clothing" is from 1855, Amer.Eng. Rags-to-riches "rise from poverty to wealth" is attested from 1947. Ragtop "convertible car" is from 1955. Raghead, insulting term for "South Asian or Middle Eastern person," first attested 1921.

"scold," 1739, of unknown origin; perhaps related to Dan. dialectal rag "grudge."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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