rag

A torn bit of old fabric is a rag. You might use a rag to dust the bookshelf or scrub the bathtub, but you wouldn't want to wear one.

If your clothes are torn and dirty, they're also rags, and from the sense of "worthless scrap," trashy or low quality newspapers have also long been called rags. A rag is also a somewhat annoying joke, and to rag someone is to annoy or harass them. The phrase "from rags to riches" describes a classic and deeply satisfying storyline: the tale of a poor person who becomes gloriously rich.

Definitions of rag
  1. noun
    a small piece of cloth or paper
    synonyms: shred, tag, tag end, tatter
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    types:
    pine-tar rag
    baseball equipment consisting of a rag soaked with pine tar; used on the handle of a baseball bat to give a batter a firm grip
    type of:
    piece of cloth, piece of material
    a separate part consisting of fabric
  2. noun
    newspaper with half-size pages
    synonyms: sheet, tabloid
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    type of:
    newspaper, paper
    a daily or weekly publication on folded sheets; contains news and articles and advertisements
  3. verb
    treat cruelly
    synonyms: bedevil, crucify, dun, frustrate, torment
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    types:
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    madden
    drive up the wall; get on someone's nerves
    hamstring
    make ineffective or powerless
    badger, beleaguer, bug, pester, tease
    annoy persistently
    oppress, persecute
    cause to suffer
    purge
    oust politically
    type of:
    beset, chevvy, chevy, chivvy, chivy, harass, harry, hassle, molest, plague, provoke
    annoy continually or chronically
  4. verb
    censure severely or angrily
    “The deputy ragged the Prime Minister”
    synonyms: bawl out, berate, call down, call on the carpet, chew out, chew up, chide, dress down, have words, jaw, lambast, lambaste, lecture, rebuke, remonstrate, reprimand, reproof, scold, take to task, trounce, vituperate
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    types:
    castigate, chasten, chastise, correct, objurgate
    censure severely
    brush down, tell off
    reprimand
    flame
    criticize harshly, usually via an electronic medium
    type of:
    criticise, criticize, knock, pick apart
    find fault with; express criticism of; point out real or perceived flaws
  5. verb
    harass with persistent criticism or carping
    synonyms: bait, cod, rally, razz, ride, tantalise, tantalize, taunt, tease, twit
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    types:
    barrack, flout, gibe, jeer, scoff
    laugh at with contempt and derision
    banter, chaff, jolly, josh, kid
    be silly or tease one another
    type of:
    bemock, mock
    treat with contempt
  6. verb
    cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations
    synonyms: annoy, bother, chafe, devil, get at, get to, gravel, irritate, nark, nettle, rile, vex
    chafe
    feel extreme irritation or anger
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    types:
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    get, get under one's skin
    irritate
    eat into, fester, fret, gnaw, grate, rankle
    gnaw into; make resentful or angry
    peeve
    cause to be annoyed, irritated, or resentful
    ruffle
    trouble or vex
    fret
    cause annoyance in
    beset, chevvy, chevy, chivvy, chivy, harass, harry, hassle, molest, plague, provoke
    annoy continually or chronically
    antagonise, antagonize
    provoke the hostility of
    goad, needle
    goad or provoke, as by constant criticism
    bedevil, crucify, dun, frustrate, torment
    treat cruelly
    haze
    harass by imposing humiliating or painful tasks, as in military institutions
    type of:
    displease
    give displeasure to
  7. noun
    a boisterous practical joke (especially by college students)
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    type of:
    practical joke
    a prank or trick played on a person (especially one intended to make the victim appear foolish)
  8. noun
    music with a syncopated melody (usually for the piano)
    synonyms: ragtime
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    type of:
    dance music
    music to dance to
  9. verb
    play in ragtime
    rag that old tune”
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    type of:
    play, spiel
    replay (as a melody)
  10. verb
    break into lumps before sorting
    rag ore”
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    type of:
    break up, fragment, fragmentise, fragmentize
    break or cause to break into pieces
  11. noun
    a week at British universities during which side-shows and processions of floats are organized to raise money for charities
    synonyms: rag week
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    type of:
    hebdomad, week
    any period of seven consecutive days
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