ragtag and bobtail

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ragtag and bobtail

The lowest social class; the common people. You must be joking—a person of my social status can't eat with the ragtag and bobtail at a fast food place!
See also: and, bobtail

ragtag and bobtail

Low-life, riffraff. This expression dates back to the seventeenth century, when ragtag meant a ragged lot of people and bobtail a horse whose tail had been cut short (“bobbed”) and was considered valueless. Samuel Pepys in his Diary turned it about a bit: “The dining-room was full of tag rag and bobtail, dancing, singing, and drinking” (1658–59). The expression is not heard much any longer, however, at least not in the United States.
See also: and, bobtail
References in periodicals archive ?
Since that June morning in 1749--when Lieutenant Colonel Edward Cornwallis sailed into Chebucto harbour with a dozen ships and 2000 settlers, "the ragtag and bobtail of London straight out of Hogarth's prints" charged with building a naval base and fortress--the history of Halifax has been intimately related with that of the Royal Navy and the North American Squadron.