verb (used with object), wagged, wagging.
to move from side to side, forward and backward, or up and down, especially rapidly and repeatedly: a dog wagging its tail.
to move (the tongue), as in idle or indiscreet chatter.
to shake (a finger) at someone, as in reproach.
to move or nod (the head).
verb (used without object), wagged, wagging.
to be moved from side to side or one way and the other, especially rapidly and repeatedly, as the head or the tail.
to move constantly, especially in idle or indiscreet chatter: Her behavior caused local tongues to wag.
to get along; travel; proceed: Let the world wag how it will.
to totter or sway.
British Slang. to play truant; play hooky.
the act of wagging: a friendly wag of the tail.
a person given to droll, roguish, or mischievous humor; wit.

1175–1225; Middle English waggen < Old Norse vaga to sway, or vagga cradle

wagger, noun
unwagged, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
wag1 (wæɡ)
vb , wags, wagging, wagged
1.  to move or cause to move rapidly and repeatedly from side to side or up and down
2.  to move (the tongue) or (of the tongue) to be moved rapidly in talking, esp in idle gossip
3.  to move (the finger) or (of the finger) to be moved from side to side, in or as in admonition
4.  slang to play truant (esp in the phrase wag it)
5.  the act or an instance of wagging
[C13: from Old English wagian to shake; compare Old Norse vagga cradle]

wag2 (wæɡ)
a humorous or jocular person; wit
[C16: of uncertain origin]

Wag (wæɡ)
informal the wife or girlfriend of a famous sportsman
[C21: a back formation from an acronym for w(ives) a(nd) g(irlfriends)]

abbreviation for
(West Africa) Gambia (international car registration)

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

early 13c., probably from a Scand. source (cf. O.N. vagga "a cradle," Dan. vugge "rock a cradle," O.Swed. wagga "fluctuate"), and in part from O.E. wagian "move backwards and forwards;" all from P.Gmc. *wagojanan (cf. O.H.G. weggen, Goth. wagjan "to wag"), probably from PIE base *wegh- "to move about"
(see weigh). Wagtail is attested from c.1500 as a kind of small bird; 18c. as "a harlot," but seems to be implied much earlier:
"If therefore thou make not thy mistress a goldfinch, thou mayst chance to find her a wagtaile." [Lyly, "Midas," 1592]
Wag-at-the-wall (1825) was an old name for a hanging clock with pendulum and weights exposed.

"person fond of making jokes," 1553, perhaps a shortening of waghalter "gallows bird," person destined to swing in a noose or halter, applied humorously to mischievous children, from wag (v.) + halter. Or possibly directly from wag (v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
Gambia (international vehicle ID)
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see tail wagging the dog; tongues wag.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
When dogs feel fundamentally positive about something or someone, their tails
  wag more to the right side of their rumps.
It is irresponsible to let the crazy tail wag the dog.
Shifting the tax burden from the rich to future generations, as one wag put it,
  serves no one's interests.
He does not lick or wag his tail, except when following us out or in the yard.
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