Lost the rag
Posted by ESC on August 13, 2009 at 21:30
In Reply to: Lost the rag posted by Douglas Hanley on August 13, 2009 at 15:09:
: Where did "Lost the rag" come from?
Losing your rag -- "The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang" by Tony Thorne" says this expression is of "obscure origin" but rag "...has meant variously one's tongue, a flag, to tease, to bluster or rage, but none of these senses can be definitively linked to the modern phrase." (Pantheon Books, New York, 1990). Then there's an expression, "don't that take the rag off the bush." I couldn't find my notes on that one but, if memory serves, it means, "isn't that amazing, doesn't that beat all, doesn't that take the cake."
Back in 1811 in England 'rag' was slang for banknotes, money in general. 'To rag' also meant to abuse - to tear to rags the character of the person abused.
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