1. A piece of cloth torn off; a tattered piece of cloth; a shred; a tatter; a fragment. Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tossed, And fluttered into rags. (milton) Not having otherwise any rag of legality to cover the shame of their cruelty. (Fuller)
2. Hence, mean or tattered attire; worn-out dress. And virtue, though in rags, will keep me warm. (Dryden)
3. A shabby, beggarly fellow; a ragamuffin. The other zealous rag is the compositor. (B. Jonson) Upon the proclamation, they all came in, both tag and rag. (Spenser)
4. (Science: geology) A coarse kind of rock, somewhat cellular in texture.
5. (Science: chemistry) A ragged edge.
6. A sail, or any piece of canvas. Our ship was a clipper with every rag set. (Lowell) Rag bolt, an iron pin with barbs on its shank to retain it in place. Rag carpet, a carpet of which the weft consists of narrow of cloth sewed together, end to end. Rag dust, fine particles of ground-up rags, used in making papier-mache and wall papers. Rag wheel. A chain wheel; a sprocket wheel. A polishing wheel made of disks of cloth clamped together on a mandrel. Rag wool, wool obtained by tearing woolen rags into fine bits, shoddy.
Origin: OE. Ragge, probably of Scand, origin; cf. Icel. Rogg rough hair. Cf. Rug.