Green’s Dictionary of Slang

drag v.1

1. in the context of theft; usu. as dragging n.

(a) (UK Und.) to rob from vehicles.

implied in dragging n. (1)
[UK] ‘Metropolitan Police Sl.’ in P. Laurie Scotland Yard (1972) 322: drag, to: to steal from cars.

(b) (UK Und.) to steal a car.

[UK]G.F. Newman Villain’s Tale 65: The alternative was going and dragging the cars himself, which he didn’t fancy.

2. (UK Und.) to sentence to three months’ imprisonment.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 106/2: The ‘wire’ runs ten chances to more than the ‘stall’ of being ‘pinched,’ and when ‘dragged,’ if he gets off so lucky, has to ‘do’ alone [...] his dose of ‘sturbin’.

3. (US) to search for contraband.

[US]E.W. Townsend Chimmie Fadden 67: I taut de mug would slug me an’ drag me jeans fer de boodle.

4. (US campus) to escort to a dance.

in Lucky Bag No. 3 107: Drag –To drag a femme to a hop is to escort her [HDAS].
M & M Warren Everybody Works (1981) 109: You ‘drag a queen (or a brick)’ to the hop.
[UK]P. Marks Plastic Age 136: Along with the other men who were n’t ‘dragging women’ Hugh walked the streets and watched the girls.
[US] ‘Patois of Annapolis’ in Sheboygan (WI) Press 17 Sept. 8/3: The social functions arranged for midshipmen in ‘Crabtown’ are ‘hops,’ and when a middy takes his ‘O-A-O’ – the one and only girl – to the ‘hop,’ he is ‘dragging a girl.’.
[US]‘Bill O. Lading’ You Chirped a Chinful!! n.p.: Dragging: Taking a girl to a dance.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).

5. (Aus./UK) to arrest and imprison.

[UK]Illus. Police News 31 Dec. 11/3: ‘I was dragged (arrested) on the railway station’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 13 Oct. 9/7: He asked, ‘What for?’ and witness replied, ‘For being a bludger.’ The lovely article replied, quite cocky like, ‘You can’t put me in for that - I’ve a hawker’s license, and I’ve beat them every time they try to drag me,’ whereupon the two constables immediately put him in.

6. to drive around in a horse-drawn vehicle [drag n.1 (2b)].

[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 1 Mar. 12/4: They Say [...] That If Pasty J's flash driver, Snowy A, can’t go dragging without putting a horse over-board he had better turn the game up.

7. (also drag it) to move, to ‘drag oneself away’.

(a) to leave quickly.

[US](con. 1918) L. Nason Chevrons 177: ‘Let’s drag,’ said Eadie.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 74: drag it To flee; to escape.
M. Mellon ‘Death of a One-Percenter’ in ThugLit Mar. [ebook] ‘You want me to drag out of here’.

(b) (US) to resign from a job, or participation in a betting game.

[US]C. Samolar ‘Argot of the Vagabond’ in AS II:9 391: To bunch, or to drag it, means to quit.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 128: ‘You want to drag, digger?’ the ring-keeper asked Novikowsky. ‘You’ve got thirty-five.’.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

8. (US campus) to toady to, to curry favour with a superior.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 33: drag, v. To curry favor with an instructor.

9. to ‘drag along’.

(a) to force someone to go to a place against their will.

[UK]Cleland Memoirs of a Coxcomb 5: My aunt, whom nothing could have dragged out of her country retirement.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 181: ‘Get out of the car, you’re taking a little trip downtown.’ [...] ‘You take me down and we’ll see who does what to who. This guy I’m thinking of don’t like none of his boys drug downtown.’.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 53: He was an arrogant prick, but he was a winner and he’d drag them all with him.

(b) (US black/prison) to lead someone on, to persuade, to trick.

[US]Maledicta V:1+2 (Summer + Winter) 266: By dragging an acquaintance, the prisoner leads him on.

10. (US) to irritate, to bore, to ‘bring down’.

[US]N.Y. Tribune 29 Dec. 5/6: [advert] The party or dance will never ‘drag’ where Columbia Records provide the music!
D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 13 Mar. 13: I’m dragged like the dog whose tail was wagged.
[US]J. Blake letter 30 Dec. in Joint (1972) 29: If I made a Thing of it and let it drag me, I really would flip.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 41: The monotony of the last few days that dragged them even with bennie and pot.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Whoreson 234: I think what really dragged her was that Stella was white.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) H. Huncke ‘Florence’ in Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 197: Florence is a good cook, and does let the physical effort required to organize a good meal and prepare it drag her.

11. to use the drag, i.e. street.

(a) to drive up and down, chatting to one’s friends and displaying one’s car.

[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 6: Browncroft Boulevard, wide and quite free of traffic, seemed made to drag on.
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 23 Sept. 77: They drive in their cars up Main Street [...] This is called ‘dragging Main’. It continues for several hours.

(b) (US campus) to race a car.

[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 257: Yuh wanna drag, Johnny, for beers square, eh? Or are yuh chicken.
[US]S. King Christine 62: This place is [...] not for rich college kids who want to go out dragging on the Orange Belt.
[US]R. Price Clockers 339: Jo-Jo laughed and gunned the engine in little spurts. ‘Rodney, you wanna drag?’.

12. to waste time, to idle, to move slowly.

[US] ‘Konky Mohair’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 102: While the action was lagging and the dice was dragging, / He kept his feet down in his pants.
[US](con. 1969–70) D. Bodey F.N.G. (1988) 115: The KIAs are all loaded so I drag back toward our hole.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 273: We all dragged, reluctantly, to the car.

13. (Aus. drugs) to inhale a powdered drug.

[Aus]D. McDonald Luck in the Greater West (2008) 42: The big line of goey that he’d roughly dragged up into his sinuses.

In phrases

dragging blind (adj.)

of a male, going on a blind date.

[US]El Paso Herald (TX) 19 Nov. 7/5: Most of the youths never see their partners unrtil the night of the dance. This custom [...] is known as ‘dragging blind’.
Good Housekeeping 82 11: Taking a girl he'd never seen before to a dance — ‘dragging blind,’ they called it in the Navy.
Everygirl’s Mag. 16-17 14: If they haven’t seen her [i.e. a date], they call it ‘dragging blind’.
[US]M. Fulcher ‘Believe Me’ in Afro-American (Baltimore, MD) 22 Sept. 12/4: Two well-known young-men-about-rown [...] are dragging blind to the Gadabouts’ Dance.
R.G. Emery Wings over West Point 138: Don and Jan [...] allowed themselves to be inveigled into ‘dragging blind’ for Warren; escorting two friends of Bobby’s lady of the occasion to the hop.
drag it (v.)

see sense 5 above.

drag up (v.)

(US) to leave one’s job, to resign.

[US] ‘Talk Talk of the Texas Trans-Pecos’ AS XV:2 221: He may be instructed either to ‘angle in’ (enter) or to ‘drag up’ (leave).
[US](con. 1920s) J. Thompson South of Heaven (1994) 18: Some bo is going to drag-up!
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 192: I might have to drag up if I can’t get a draw.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

drag-out (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases


see separate entries.

drag down (v.) [note drag n.1 (11)]

1. (Aus. und.) to steal articles hanging on shop doors.

[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 3: Dragging Down, or Pulling Down, Stealing articles from shop-doors.

2. (US) to earn a salary, wages.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 33: What did you drag down.
[US] ‘Bisbee’s Queen’ in Lingenfelter et al. Songs of the Amer. West (1968) 154: You drag down chucker’s wages when you run machines down there.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Horseshoes’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 257: When they’re through with me they’ll ship em to Hellangone, and I’ll be draggin’ down about seventy-five bucks a month.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 148: A chance to drag down his fifty thousand bucks a year.
[US] G.S. Schuyler Black No More (1971) 115: The longer we can make the process, the longer we continue to drag down the jack.
[US]J.M. Cain Mildred Pierce (1985) 541: She’s dragging down 500 dollars a week.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 49: I drag down twice as much as both you mugs put together.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell Plays Solomon (1976) 39: According to the trades, Alan is dragging down quarter a million dollars a year.
drag in (v.)

(US) to arrive, to appear.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 33: drag in, v. To arrive.
N. Algren ‘So Help Me’ from Story mag. in Algren (1995) 19: [I] was settin’ on the packin’-shed platform sunnin’ myself, thinkin’ maybe Fort would drag in.
[US](con. 1970) J.M. Del Vecchio 13th Valley (1983) 393: Man, look what just dragged in.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 209: She stays out all night, drags in when I’m leaving for work.
drag it through the garden (v.)

(US) to add salad etc. to a portion of meat/fish.

[UK]D. Morrell First Blood 15: How do you want your burgers? Plain or dragged through the garden?
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 drag it through the garden Definition: to accompany a portion of food with all the extras – lettuce, tomato, onion, etc. Example: Slip me a slice of the porter and drag it through the garden.
drag one’s ass (v.)

see separate entry.

drag (one’s) heels (v.)

(US campus) to walk, to stroll.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 1: drag heels with the chicks – walk on campus with some females.
drag one’s hook (v.) [naut. hook, an anchor]

(N.Z.) to leave.

[NZ]B. Crump ‘One of Us’ in Best of Barry Crump (1974) 141: I think it’s time we dragged our hook, Sam.
[NZ]B. Crump Odd Spot of Bother 53: When a bloke gets the sack there’s not much else he can do about it except drag his hook – move off and look for another job.
drag the chain (v.) [sheep-shearing jargon]

(Aus./N.Z.) to be slow, to be inferior, to be last in any work or contest, to be the slowest drinker of a group.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Nov. 16/4: Hear some quaint slang among Australian shearers occasionally. One of the fraternity confided to me on the board the other evening that he ‘had peeled 88, and was dragging the chain behind Nugget Smith,’ but had ‘bet him a bottle of sheep dip’ that he’d ‘wheel him next day.’.
[Aus]Brisbane Courier 3 Jan. 20/3: ‘Who swung the gate’ at the Blow Blow when you were there, and who ‘dragged the chain,’ are phrases which convey no meaning to the uninitiated. Well, the man that shears the most sheep in a shed is the man who ‘swings the gate,’ and the man that shears the least is the man that ‘dragged the chain.’.
[NZ] (ref. to 1890–1910) L.G.D. Acland Early Canterbury Runs (1951) 375: Drag the chain, to – To be the slowest shearer in a shed.
[Aus]Baker N.Z. Sl. 39: From the New Zealand shearing sheds came those effective expressions to drag the chain and swing the gate, phrases applied to the slowest and the fastest shearer in a shed respectively.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Ridge and River (1966) 200: You was dragging the chain a bit, mate.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 232/2: drag the chain – loaf.
[Aus]T. Ronan Only a Short Walk 177: If you’re a fish-eater don’t drag the chain. There’s red rock schnapper for breakfast.
[Aus]A. Chipper Aussie Swearers Guide 43: Drag-the-chain merchant. A slowcoach.
[Aus]D. Maitland Breaking Out 136: He stepped back [...] dragging the main chain.
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 22: Drag the chain: A person is said to be dragging the chain if he is either loafing on the job or not drinking fast enough. To loaf on the job is acceptable but to fall behind in a drinking school is regarded as a crime.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 39/2: dragging the chain holding up a group’s activities, such as a drinking school; originally the slowest shearer in the shed.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 9: Cigarette advertising has already been banned in Britain and the United States, but Australia drags the chain.
drag through the sheet (v.)

to rescue someone from financial difficulties, spec. to loan money.

[UK]‘T.B. Jr’ Pettyfogger Dramatized II i: Dash it, I don’t know. I begin to be damn’d seedy — I must get some good-natur’d fellow to drag me through the sheets.