"rough, coarse, unkempt," 1590s, from shag (n.) + -y (2). Related: Shaggily; shagginess. Earlier was shagged, from Old English sceacgede "hairy;" compare Old Norse skeggjaðr, Danish skægget "bearded." The shaggy-dog story as a type of joke is attested from 1944, perhaps from vaudeville.
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