Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shag v.2

[Gloucester dial. shag, to make off, to traipse around]

1. (US Und.) to discover, to identify.

[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 75: shagged [...] Identified; recognized; discovered; exposed.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 189/2: Shag. [...] 2. (Rare) To discover in a criminal act; to call police attention to; to identify formally, as a complainant in a criminal proceeding; to follow or pursue.

2. (US, also shag up) to chase; lit. and fig.

[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 417: Shag. To follow.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 28: His old man came and shagged them away.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 253: You don’t look like you need to shag coffee [...] for him no more.
[US]S. Bellow Augie March (1996) 35: I couldn’t run after people who short-changed me [...] you can’t leave the stand to shag them.
[US](con. 1958) R. Farina Been Down So Long (1972) 171: Goddamned demons aren’t bad enough, the cops have to shag after my cat.
[US]S. Ace Stand On It (1979) 152: The cop shagged old Lee Roy all over northern Florida.
[US]G.V. Higgins Rat on Fire (1982) 30: Every so often...I got to shag up a couple of guys who haven’t told a clean joke in years and give the guy free entertainment.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 150: Breuning and Carlisle will be there to shag errands for you.

3. (US) to wander around; to walk, esp. slowly, whether through laziness or exhaustion.

[US]R.J. Fry Salvation of Jemmy Sl. I i: After all the shaggin’ I’ve done around this here town, I’ll be chased clean around the block if I ain’t got the swellest job I seen yet!
[US]D. Runyon ‘Princess O’Hara’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 432: The Princess is getting too grown-up to be shagging around Broadway.
[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 85: That’s it ... let’s shag outta here two at a time. Take off.
[NZ]G. Slatter Pagan Game (1969) 164: Shagging about like an old moll at a christening.
[NZ]P. Shannon Davey Darling 105: ‘No point in shagging around,’ said the Old Man.

4. (US black) to dance; thus shag artist, dancer.

[US]Pittsburgh Press (PA) 5 Aug. 28/3: He was able to swing such a wicked foot that allother ‘shag artists’ on the lot looked tame in comparison.
[US]L.A. Times 7 May 51/4: On Conrad Wiedell [...] Portrait of a jitterbug. ‘I’m not jitter. I’m a shag artist. Started shagging at 14’’.
[US]E. Brown Trespass 140: She had been shagging that night.

5. to give someone a false impression.

[UK](con. 1937) R. Westerby Mad in Pursuit 161: Keep your left up, and stall away from Norris the first two. That’ll shag ’im. Then sock ’im in the body.

6. to move fast.

[US]F. Paley Rumble on the Docks (1955) 302: Run! Low! Kick it away [...] Shag!
[US](con. 1944) E.M. Nathanson Dirty Dozen (2002) 293: Take a guard with you, Corporal, and shag after them!
[US]Lead Dly Call (SD) 24 June 1/3: An emergency dike collapsed [...] ‘We just dropped everything and shagged out,’ said [...] a 17-year-old volunteer.

7. (US gang) to deliver.

[US]Kramer & Karr Teen-Age Gangs 8: You shag word to the Acemen and the War Counselor to meet me at the pool hall.

8. to deal with.

[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 96: I shagged cars more than once.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 148: Eldon Peavy shagged calls. Eldon Peavy popped pills.

9. to throw.

[Ire]B. Behan Brendan Behan’s Island (1984) 100: You get it ripped off and shag it down off the roof.
[US]J. Susann Love Machine 323: He [...] went out and shagged some golf balls.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Ship Inspector 6: When I catch one of them at it, I’ll shag him overboard.

10. to obtain.

[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 209: After a while [he] shags a ride with a guy in a flannel shirt on his way to Griffin with a load of baled hay.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 606: He’s walking out. He’s got a briefcase. He shags a cab quick.
[US]J. Ellroy Hilliker Curse 20: They shagged us chow from Ollie Hammond’s Steak House.

11. (US teen) to tease, to harass.

[US]C. Stroud Close Pursuit (1988) 52: You little bastard! You’ve been shagging me since I got in.

In phrases

shag-lag (n.)

(US black) lying.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 166: ‘What Mack doin’?’ ‘Lyin’ up a breeze.’ ‘Awright, lemme git in dis shag-lag. Who lied last?’.