On the drag
Posted by Smokey Stover on November 29, 2006
In Reply to: On the drag posted by Smokey Stover on November 29, 2006
: : : There's a phrase I'd like to know the origin of, namely "being on the drag" meaning to be running late for something.
: : : I recently had to attend a business meeting in my company's London office but, not surprisingly, the train was delayed. So I rang my colleague in London to say "I was on the drag and would be there as soon as I could". My colleague (who is a Londoner) had no idea what I meant, and when I arrived at the meeting he said he had wondered whether I was going to turn up in a dress and high heels!!
: : : I live in Ipswich, Suffolk and "on the drag" is something you hear people saying regularly around here. Bearing in mind my London colleague's confusion, I suppose the phrase's use might be unique to my part of the country, but I wonder if a) you have heard it before, and b) if you know its origin.
: : Just to say that I'm a Londoner born and bred, living in Kent for the last 12 years, and I had never heard of it till your post; so I suspect that it may be very specific to East Anglia. (VSD)
: Some folks use "on the drag" to mean on the street, or on the road, and it seems to me that Mr. Glading must have meant this. When a man dresses as a woman he's "in drag." The preposition makes all the difference. If a man comes to a party dressed as a woman he "comes in drag." There's a history of female impersonation and cross-dressing with the title "Drag." As to the first meaning, everyone knows about "drag racing." That means racing on a public street or road, rather than on a private track. And every town has a main drag, even mine.
I obviously read Mr. Glading's question carelessly. Because of my previous conception of the meaning of drag, I thought he meant that he was already on the road, as a partial exculpation for being late, like phoning to say, "I'm on my way." Wrong, wrong, wrong. Some Brits apparently use drag the way aircraft designers do; drag is being slowed down. But perhaps I'm still wrong.