- 1[countable, uncountable] a piece of old, often torn, cloth used especially for cleaning things I wiped the window with a damp rag. Use a piece of old rag. see also glad rags
- 2[countable] (informal, usually disapproving) a newspaper that you believe to be of low quality the local rag See related entries: The press
- 3[countable] a piece of ragtime music
- 4(British English) [uncountable, countable] an event or a series of events organized by students each year to raise money for charity rag week See related entries: Helping others Word Originnoun senses 1 to 2 Middle English: probably a back-formation from ragged or raggy ‘ragged’. noun sense 4 mid 18th cent.: of unknown origin. noun sense 3 late 19th cent.: perhaps from ragged; compare with ragtime.Extra examples He wiped his hands on an oily rag. I cleaned the board with an old rag. I saw people dressed in rags begging on the street. The gun was wrapped in a dirty rag. Wipe the board with a damp rag. You can wipe the stains off with a rag. I don’t know how you can bear to read that awful rag!Idioms wearing very old torn clothes The children were dressed in rags. See related entries: Poverty and famine
something that is likely to make somebody very angry (British English, informal) to get angry See related entries: Anger from being extremely poor to being very rich a rags-to-riches story Hers was a classic tale of rags to riches.