Words related to ragged
"torn or worn scrap of cloth," early 14c., probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse rögg "shaggy tuft, rough hair," earlier raggw-; Old Danish rag; see rug), or else a back-formation from ragged. It also may represent an unrecorded Old English cognate of Old Norse rögg. In any case, from Proto-Germanic *rawwa-, from PIE root *reue- (2) "to smash, knock down, tear up, uproot" (see rough (adj.)).
Also in Middle English "a hard, rough piece of stone" (late 13c.). As an insulting term for "newspaper, magazine" it dates from 1734; slang for "tampon, sanitary napkin" is attested from 1930s (on the rag "menstruating" is from 1948). Rags "tattered clothing" is from mid-14c.; in the jocular sense of "personal clothing" it is attested by 1855 (singular), American English. Rags-to-riches as a description of a tale of a rise from poverty to wealth is attested by 1896. Rag-picker is from 1860; rag-shop, one selling old clothes, is from 1829.
mid-14c., "demon;" late 14c., "a ragged lout," also in surnames (Isabella Ragamuffyn, 1344), from Middle English raggi "ragged" ("rag-y"?) + "fanciful ending" [OED], or else perhaps second the element is Middle Dutch muffe "mitten." Or, as Johnson has it, "From rag and I know not what else."
Ragged was used of the devil from c. 1300 in reference to his "shaggy" appearance. Raggeman (late 13c. as a surname, presumably "one who goes about in tattered clothes") was used by Langland as the name of a demon (late 14c.), and compare Old French Ragamoffyn, name of a demon in a mystery play. Sense of "dirty, disreputable boy" is from 1580s. Also compare ragabash "idle, worthless fellow" (c. 1600).
1845, U.S. Southern, from ragged + -y (2). Raggedy Ann stories first were published in 1918, based on the kind, adventurous, mop-haired redheaded rag-doll character created by U.S. illustrator Johnny Gruelle (1880-1938). The tangle of tales about the origin of the doll and the name probably are mostly inventions to clothe sorrow's grieving-shrine for Marcella Gruelle (1902-1915) and best left in peace.
also rag-time, "syncopated, jazzy piano music," 1896, perhaps from rag "dance ball" (1895, American English dialect), or a shortening of ragged, in reference to the syncopated melody. Rag (n.) "ragtime dance tune" is from 1897.
If rag-time was called tempo di raga or rague-temps it might win honor more speedily. ... What the derivation of the word is[,] I have not the faintest idea. The negroes call their clog-dancing "ragging" and the dance a "rag." [Rupert Hughes, Boston Musical Record, April 1900]
Conceive the futility of trying to reduce the intangible ragness to a strict system of misbegotten grace notes and untimely rests! In attempting to perfect, and simplify, art is destroying the unhampered spirit in which consists the whole beauty of rag-time music. The very essence of rag-time is that it shall lack all art, depending for the spirit to be infused more upon the performer than upon the composer himself. [Yale Literary Magazine, June 1899]
Her first "rag-time" was "The Bully," in which she made great sport by bringing a little coloured boy on the stage with her. Miss [May] Irwin says the way to learn to sing "rag-time" is to catch a negro and study him. [Lewis C. Strang, "Famous Actresses of the Day in America," Boston, 1899]