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a ragged colt may make a good horse

Someone's or something's current behavior, condition, or situation, especially that which is bad, does not dictate their future outcome. I wouldn't worry too much about your son's interest in partying—a ragged colt may make a good horse, after all. The rough cut of the film left us a bit worried, but the editor assured us that a ragged colt may make a good horse.
See also: colt, good, horse, make, may, ragged

be on the ragged edge

To be close to encountering or experiencing something (such as an outcome or emotional state). Primarily heard in US. After taking exams all week, I am on the ragged edge of exhaustion. The board has been on the ragged edge of discord ever since learning about the chairman's scandalous conduct.
See also: edge, on, ragged

be run ragged

To be utterly exhausted from long, tedious work or having too many things to do. I've been run ragged trying to clean and organize the house before your mom comes to visit. I love this work—you're run ragged at the end of the day, but you feel like you've done something truly productive.
See also: ragged, run


To bother or badger someone. Would you quit bullyragging me? I didn't do anything wrong, I swear!


1. noun, slang A newspaper, especially one focusing on tawdry, scandalous, or sensationalized stories. I don't know how you read this rag. Everything in here is pure drivel. His face was plastered on every rag in every supermarket across the country. Suddenly, everyone had an opinion about what had happened in his marriage.
2. noun, vulgar slang A sanitary napkin used during a girl's or woman's menstrual cycle. Used especially in the phrase "on the rag"; often considered offensive. A: "Sorry about the way my girlfriend was acting, I think she's on the rag." B: "Dude, that is a pretty ignorant thing to say. Plus, you were being a total jerk, so I don't blame her for getting upset." I think I need to see my gynecologist. I've been having to change my rag every hour or so, which is way more than normal for me.
3. verb, slang To scold, criticize, or berate (someone). You shouldn't rag Tom so much. You know he means well.
4. verb, slang To tease or taunt (someone). Oh, lighten up. I'm only ragging you!

rag about (someone or something)

1. slang To complain or gripe very intensely or incessantly about someone or something. We've been ragging about this issue for so long that it's a huge relief to find out they're actually going to fix it! Instead of just ragging about your annoying coworker, why don't you actually try to resolve the issue with them?
2. slang To tease, mock, or annoy someone about some issue or thing. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "rag" and "out." My friends are always ragging me about my pink backpack, but I quite like it. OK, Tom, stop ragging Sally about her new boyfriend. You've embarrassed her enough already.
See also: rag

rag off

To remove small amounts of paint or glaze from a surface, especially a wall, by dabbing it with a cloth or rag. Ragging off the wall before it dries is a great way to give it a more varied texture and appearance.
See also: off, rag

rag on (one)

1. To nag, criticize, or berate one, especially at length. I wish you'd quit ragging on me—I told you I was sorry! The boss started ragging on Thomas in front of the whole office for messing up the Robertson accounts.
2. To tease or mock one. My friends are always ragging on me for wearing a backpack that has My Little Pony on it. We rag on each other constantly, but it's all in good fun.
See also: on, rag

rag out

1. slang To get dressed up in formal or fancy clothes. Often used in passive constructions. It's a pretty informal ceremony—you don't have to rag out or anything. I love getting ragged out for special occasions.
2. slang To scold, reprimand, or berate someone, especially with undue intensity or aggression. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "rag" and "out." It's a pretty informal ceremony—you don't have to rag out or anything. I love getting ragged out for special occasions.
See also: out, rag

rag the puck

1. In ice hockey, to attempt to run out the remaining time in a game by maintaining possession of the puck for as long possible. The team is notorious for ragging the puck whenever they take the lead.
2. By extension, to stall, postpone, or otherwise cause a delay by deliberately engaging in time-wasting activities. Primarily heard in Canada. Activist groups are claiming that the government has ragged the puck in relation to legislation that would better protect the environment. Quit ragging the puck, John, and make a decision already!
See also: puck, rag

run (oneself or someone) ragged

To exhaust oneself or someone else through hard work or effort. I've been running myself ragged trying to clean and organize the house before your mom comes to visit. If you become Joe's personal assistant, don't be surprised if he runs you ragged—he can be very demanding.
See also: ragged, run

talk (one) ragged

To talk so much that one becomes bored and exhausted from listening. I went on a date with a girl last night, but she talked me ragged during dinner and I ended up leaving early. You need to keep your presentations varied and interesting. You can't just talk your audience ragged for an hour.
See also: ragged, talk

talk (oneself) ragged

To talk until one becomes exhausted or has nothing left to say. I had been talking myself ragged about the issue for nearly an hour. My sister was really distraught about her breakup, so I just gave her a sympathetic ear while she talked herself ragged.
See also: ragged, talk
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

rag Out

 Sl. to dress up. I like to rag out and go to parties. I hate to rag out. I like comfortable clothes. rag someone about someone or something
1. to complain to someone about someone or something. Why are you always ragging me about Mary? Stop ragging me about being late.
2. to tease someone about someone or something. I wish you would stop ragging me about my hat. Why do you always rag me about my funny walk? I can't help it.
See also: out, rag

run someone ragged

Fig. to keep someone or something very busy. This busy season is running us all ragged at the store. What a busy day. I ran myself ragged.
See also: ragged, run

talk someone ragged

Fig. to talk to someone too much; to bore someone. That was not an interview. She talked me ragged. He always talks me ragged, but I always listen.
See also: ragged, talk
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

run one ragged

Exhaust one, as in I've run myself ragged with this project. This idiom alludes to working so hard that one's appearance is reduced to rags. [c. 1920]
See also: one, ragged, run
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

run someone ragged

If someone runs you ragged, they make you do so much that you get extremely tired. Most days the kids — four under the age of six — run me ragged. Their defence was run ragged by the opposing team. Note: You can also say that you run yourself ragged, meaning that you get very tired by doing many things. She runs herself ragged trying to get everything done.
See also: ragged, run, someone
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

run someone ragged

exhaust someone by making them undertake a lot of physical activity.
See also: ragged, run, someone
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

ˌrun somebody ˈragged

(informal) make somebody do a lot of work or make a big effort so that they become tired: You look really exhausted. Have the children been running you ragged?
See also: ragged, run, somebody
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


tv. & in. to harass someone. Don’t bullyrag me just because you’re upset.


1. n. a newspaper. What a rag! It’s only good for putting in the bottom of bird cages!
2. n. ugly or badly styled clothing; an ugly garment. I can’t wear that rag!
3. n. any clothing, even the best. (Always plural.) Man, I got some new rags that will knock your eyes out!
4. n. a sanitary napkin; a tampon. (For use in the menstrual cycle. Usually objectionable.) God, I’ve got to change this rag!

rag out

in. to dress up. I hate to rag out. I like comfortable clothes.
See also: out, rag

talk someone ragged

tv. to talk to someone too much; to bore someone. That was not an interview. She talked me ragged.
See also: ragged, someone, talk
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
George Coppin gained great popularity as the raggedly dressed 'new chum' Billy Barlow.
Seeing the handwriting on the wall, and Bolingbroke's army in the field, Richard falls apart, raggedly and pathetically but also caustically, full of self-pity but also of scorn.
Having had to work so hard for so many years to save herself from the darkness, I would not go down underground for her, having already stumbled blindly, and raggedly, through my own winter, to only just now see the April light flooding through my house.
In sharp contrast to images of raggedly clothed female bodies, ravenous animals, and scenes of overcrowded or emptied clusters of small cabins, a monument stands in Kilrush town center that silently repudiates those images of emaciated, desperate famine figures.
Our narrator, a mysterious, raggedly old bloke, tells us that the story we're about to see unfold is exactly the type of little drama that normally escapes our notice.
We are fortunate to live in a society that, for all its faults, has evolved--gradually, raggedly, and still very, very imperfectly--towards a hospitable pluralism that embraces this sense of our common humanity and this appreciation of individual differences.
In one corner, an air conditioner and a de-humidifier raggedly chugged and rattled in a losing battle to protect the contents of the basement from the relentless effects of tropical heat and humidity.
Conductor Timothy Vernon drew a lush, elegant, Viennese sonority from the orchestra, and Robert Holliston's Pacific Opera Chorus made a raggedly robust crew of peasants, gypsies and soldiers.
The Type 2031 Diaphragm Control Valve is raggedly designed to give the maximum in performance, and provides essential flow characteristics wherever highly accurate control of temperature, pressure, or flow is required.
Buntings main contention, fleshed out rigorously early on and somewhat raggedly as he presses onward, runs something like this.
Paul's, the others trailed, ants trooping their colors raggedly, tomb to tomb.
When she received the product, it wasn't the rare item that was advertised but a $5 Beanie Baby with the wings raggedly snipped.
At an adjacent table a very well-dressed, obviously wealthy man was having his shoes shined by a raggedly clad urchin.
Centuries and millennia correspond raggedly to human epochs.
Internally, the founders initially were raggedly divided into two interest groups with opposing ideas about what the new organization should do and look like.