Posted by J knows on June 03, 2004
In Reply to: I got *ragged on* badly posted by ESC on May 25, 2004
: : To anyone out there,
: : Could anyone tell me if I have this right?
: : I got ragged on =I got told off???
: : ": ragged on suggests to me a constant state of being 'picked on' -- one individual verbally demeaning or scolding another on a regular basis. It is a conscious effort by one individual to diminish another, not an accidental or incidental negative remark."
: : I have to disagree. One can be "ragged on" on an ad hoc basis, as in "Everybody and his brother been ragging on me today."
: : Actually, I have never heard the phrase used in the sense you describe in your first sentence.
: : The origin of the slang term necessarily implies a non-constant nature to the ragging. Granted a certain regularity is a part of the original usage, there is certainly no exclusivity.
: : Which brings me to the fact that your two sentences appear to be unrelated. "...scolding another on a regular basis. It is a conscious effort..." One can make a conscious effort to demean someone verbally (one almost always does) and never speak to them again.
: I looked up "ragged" on Merriam-Webster and one meaning was to tease -- to disturb or annoy by persistent irritating or provoking especially in a petty or mischievous way. Like older boys ragging on a younger boy. Nagging with a teasing or dominating tinge.
: Isn't this kind of along the lines of Mob talk - "Oh, we're just busting his b*lls." Figuratively not literally.
I believe it is related to the slang term "on the rag" adj : testy, also a woman on her period. When someone is "on the rag" they are testy, and they might behave as "one individual verbally demeaning or scolding another on a regular basis" as one correspondent noted above. So when someone does that to you, you have been "ragged on".