1. with ref. to money [SE rag, a small amount, extended to a small amount and then any sum of money, thus sense 1b the minimally valuable farthing; the mid-19C introduction of banknotes adds secondary ref. to rag, a piece of cloth].
(a) [late 16C–1920s] money in general.
(b) [late 17C–early 19C] a farthing.
(c) [late 18C–1940s] usu. in pl., a banknote, paper money; also attrib.
(d) [mid-19C–1900s] (US Und.) in pl. counterfeit notes.
(e) [1940s–50s] (US Und.) a confidence game based on stocks and shares [ext. of sense 1c, banknote, to any monetary document].
2. as ext. versions of SE.
(a) [late 18C+] a flag.
(b) [19C+] an article of clothing, esp. a dress; also attrib.; thus raggery, clothes.
(c) [mid-19C–1910s] a theatre curtain.
(d) [mid-19C+] a pocket handkerchief.
(e) [1900s] a towel.
(f) [1910s] (US) a necktie.
(g) [1920s] a wig.
(h) [1950s] a baby’s nappy.
(i) [1960s+] a bandana.
(j) [1990s+] (US black) by metonymy from sense 2i, a gang member.
(k) [1990s+] (W.I./UK black) the semi-uniform clothes worn by a ragamuffin n.
(l) an convertible automobile’s soft top.
3. with ref. to speech [red rag n.] .
(a) [early 19C+] the tongue.
(b) [mid-19C+] abuse, teasing, talk; usu. as ragging.
4. [late 19C+] a newspaper or magazine [derog. ref. to its worthlessness, but note the use of rags in paper-making].
(a) [1940s] (US black) a magazine.
5. a sheet of paper; a form.
(a) [1930s–40s] (N.Z.) a low playing card in a suit.
7. with ref. to menstruation.
(a) [1920s+] a sanitary towel.
(b) [1990s+] a menstrual period.
8. as a derog. [abbr. wet rag under wet adj.1 , but ? ult. 16C–19C SE rag, a derog. description of a person, a ‘rag of a man’].
(a) [1960s] (N.Z.) a derog. term for a man.
(b) [1960s+] a fool.
9. [1980s+] (US) a second-rate, run-down car.
10. see rag house
11. see rag top
see rag trade
1. [late 19C–1910s] a dollar bill [SAmE rag baby, a war bond that had been issued in exchanragge for paper dollars at a time when the value of a paper dollar was 40 cents on the dollar in coin].
2. [late 19C] in attrib. use of sense 1.
3. see also SE compounds below.
see separate entry.
[late 18C–early 19C] an ensign, charged with carrying the flag.
see separate entries.
[early 19C] a wealthy man.
[1970s] (US campus) a person who plays tricks; something unpleasant.
[early–mid-19C] a bank; thus rag-shop boss, a banker, rag-shop cove, a banker, a cashier.
[mid–late 19C] a wealthy man.
1. [mid-19C] the purchasing of counterfeit banknotes and the subsequent passing them off to innocent victims.
2. [mid-19C+] (also rag-alley, rag fair ) the garment industry; thus rag trader n., a person in the industry.
[1980s+] the menstrual period.
see under dead adj.
see under drop v.1
[mid–late 19C] to show off one’s bankroll.
1. (also get one’s rag up) to lose one’s temper.
2. to make someone else angry.
[1980s] (W.I.) to tease and joke aggressively and competitively.
1. [1940s+] of a woman, to be menstruating.
2. [1960s+] to act foolishly or eccentrically, to be annoyed.
[1990s+] to keep one’s temper.
[1950s+] to lose one’s temper.
[1990s+] (UK juv.) extremely angry, in a furious temper.
1. [1930s+] menstruating; thus off the rag.
2. [1960s+] irritated, testy, bad-tempered; thus share the rag, to be hostile, to place blame on someone else.
see under ride v.
[1970s+] (US gay) to be hostile, to pass responsibility onto another.
[1990s+] (US) in fig. use, to control one’s temper, to cheer up.
(US Und.) to perform a stock swindle.
[1970s] a dismissive excl.; the implication is that the addressee is lit. or fig. suffering from menstrual ill temper.
SE in slang uses
[1980s+] a contemptible person, usu. impoverished or dishevelled; also as a derog. term of address.
[1970s+] (US black) impoverished, contemptible.
1. [20C+] (US black) a poor, ill-clothed woman, who is nonetheless attractive.
2. see also sl. compounds above.
see separate entry.
[1900s] (US) a backstreet, the poor, run-down part of a city.
see rag bag n.
see separate entry.
1. [mid-19C–1920s] a cheap rooming house or ‘hotel’, esp. in a town based on an oil-drilling camp.
2. [late 19C–1930s] (also rag) a tent.
[late 17C] aggressively uncouth, very badly mannered.
[1960s] (US Und.) a team of confidence men working ‘the rag’, a trick based on persuading the victim that they can profit from a fixed stock swindle.
[late 19C] an umbrella, esp. one that is not rolled up.
1. [1940s-70s] a truck that has an open back, which, when loaded, is covered with a tarpaulin.
2. [1940s+] (also rag) the car or truck’s soft top.
3. [1950s+] a car with a ‘convertible’ soft top .
[late 17C–early 19C] spirits, esp. gin.
1. [1960s+] (drugs) inferior quality marijuana.
2. [1980s+] heroin.
[mid-19C+] (Irish) a man who pursues a number of women at the same time; thus (cite 1906) the subjects of such attentions.
[mid-19C–1950s] (US) to surpass, to excel, to outdo.