Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rag bag n.

also ragbag

1. a miscellaneous collection of anything.

[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 27 July 677: Out of a rag-bag kind of receptacle they produced a wisp of paper.
[US]C. Sandburg letter Feb. in Mitgang (1968) 314: These enclosures are from the ragbag of the latest job.
[Ire] in W. Burrowes Riordans [TV script] (1977) 15: A weary travel-stained ragbag of men.
[UK](con. 1960) P. Theroux My Secret Hist. (1990) 96: It’s a ragbag [...] Some of it is kind of cute.

2. (also rag doll) a sloppily-dressed woman, a slattern [play on SE + bag n.1 (3)/doll n.1 (2)].

[UK]Dickens Great Expectations (1992) 307: An inflammatory old female, assisted by an animated rag-bag whom she called her niece.
[UK]H.B. Finlay Knight In Fool’s Paradise 156: ‘You young humbug! I saw you myself, up to the eyes in a flirtation with a Ragbag.’ ‘With a what?’ ‘With a literary person distantly resembling a woman, at the Museum’.
[UK]D. Cotsford Society Snapshots 127: Mrs Hardup [...] What do you want to know now? Miss Pansy Parr (with a malicious twinkle in her eye). Only the name of that old rag-bag who just came in.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 188: rag doll An untidy or slovenly woman.
[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 179: She threw back her head and laughed, taking no notice of the fact that he’d called her a ragbag in well-chosen slang.
[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 96: ‘Then,’ mum continues, ‘I “ran into” dear old Mrs Jones.’ ‘That old tabbie!’ dad snorts [...] ‘That old perambulating ragbag!’.

3. a general derog., the implication is of unkempt slovenliness; also attrib.

[US]Vick’s Illus Mthly Mag. 14 270: Nip's activity and seeming success had begun to disturb the regular newsboys of that locality. Considering him an interloper they decided to run him off. So upon his next appearance they met him with a yell of ‘Ragbag! Ragbag!’ .
[UK]‘George Orwell’ Keep The Aspidistra Flying (1962) 116: Surely there’s no need to go about looking like a rag-bag?
[UK]A. Sillitoe ‘The Disgrace of Jim Scarfedale’ Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1960) 123: You went out into the snow with your topcoat on, which was more than any of the other little ragbags in the yard wore.
[US]S. Yurick Warriors (1966) 85: The indigenos gave them a stare—as if to say who were these rag-bag outsiders to come invading their turf.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 35: The cigar-stinking, unshaven ragbag behind the wheel.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘The Long Legs of the Law’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] She’s hardly gonna think twice about a rag-bag like you is she?

4. the lowest category of touring carnival.

[UK]J.B. Priestley Good Companions 413: If this is a the-ater, give me them pavillions and kursaals ivvery time. This is nowt but a rag-bag.
[US]J.E. Dadswell Hey, Sucker 16: You cannot saunter by one of our ‘ragbags,’ your chin up and eyes half closed, fully determined not to fall for a dime’s worth of anything we have. [Ibid.] 102: All carnivals, whether large or small, are referred to as ‘rag bags’.
[US]‘I’ll Gyp You Every Time’ in C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 179: ‘Rag bags’ — starvation diet shows that hit the Southern states during the off season.

5. (Aus./US, also rag-bunch) a messy, unkempt person.

[[Ire]‘A Real Paddy’ Real Life in Ireland 65: I didn’t know what to call him, he hadn’t a rag on his back, but he was a rag-bunch altogether].
[US]G.S. Schuyler Yellow Peril in Hatch & Hamalian Lost Plays of Harlem Renaissance (1996) 51: If that darky just brings that fur coat, I’ll knock ’em dead. Put on airs with me, will they? I’ll make all the dickties look like ragbags.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 173/2: Rag-bag. 1. (Hobo) A badly tattered bum.
[UK]A. Sinclair Breaking of Bumbo (1961) 58: He [...] strolled among the ragbags of puppy-fat and easy meat, that answered to the name of débutantes.
[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 49: She then stood back and held the door for the sticky-eyed ragbag that tumbled out.
[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 16: My stepmother [...] Crossin’ the street, on the arm of some ragbag.

6. (also rag doll) a person who relinquishes sex or money easily.

[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Rag Doll (noun) Used to describe any male or female who are easily persuaded to give up sex or money.