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drag +‎ -s- +‎ -man


dragsman (plural dragsmen)

  1. (historical) A driver of a carriage, coach, or drag, for public transport, private hire, or as a household servant; coachman.
    • 1829, John Lawrence, The Horse in All His Varieties and Uses, page 198:
      Some years since, on a journey into Kent, and sitting on the box beside the dragsman, I was surprised to see him turn out of a fine piece of road which had the most moderate, and, in my idea, most insignificant slope, in order to whip his horses over a deep and fresh laid piece of gravel.
    • 1995, Margaret Thomson Davis, The Dark Side of Pleasure, →ISBN:
      The man was of the old school and held a very poor opinion, so her papa said, of the new flashman types—men like Gunnet, who despite his coarse features was one of Mr Cameron's most elegant dragsmen.
    • 2012, Rhoda Power, Eileen Power, More Boys and Girls of History, →ISBN, page 229:
      To Susan, who had never travelled by road in anything but a stage-coach driven by a dragsman in a beaver hat and a coat with three little capes, the journey was like a fantastic dream, for along the rough tracks which led through the open veldt and up the steep hills trundled ninety-one ox-waggons.
  2. (obsolete) One who races horses; an amateur jockey.
    • 1830, Samuel Beazley, Edward Bulwer Lytton Baron Lytton, The Oxonians: A Glance at Society - Volume 1, page 75:
      Even those who make the best use of our system of education, and whose accomplishments at quitting college are not confined to being a capital rower and a " prime dragsman," learn very little or nothing that is of use to them in after life ;
    • 1840, W. Massie, Fitzwiggins, by the author of 'Sydenham'., page 52:
      He could make as good a book as most men, throw a main, and play a fair game of whist ; was a very pretty dragsman, and could fight a few.
    • 1844 July, Actæon, “My Uncle's Advice on Sporting Matters”, in The Sporting review, ed. by 'Craven'., page 233:
      For the rest, most are men of wit and pleasure, given to gallantry and joking; in the former, their success is notorious; the "bonnes fortunes" of a swell dragsman would shame many a roué in fashionable life.
    • 1876, Lord William Pitt Lennox, Coaching: With Anecdotes of the Road, page 211:
      The Oxford and Cambridge men were first-rate dragsmen, and many a reverend who may now devote his leisure to "coaching" youths for college or the Army was then "coaching" very different teams.
  3. (historical) A thief who cuts the luggage from carriages.
    • 1833, Old Bailey Experience, page 423:
      In consequence of the great improvement in the make of travelling carriages, there are now few opportunities for the dragsman to exercise his calling in cutting off trunks fastened behind those vehicles, so that the thieves who have a preference for this mode of plunder, are now constrained to prowl about the streets, following the numerous carts which are daily employed in the delivering of goods in this large city and who may be termed "cart sneaks."
    • 1862, William Makepeace Thackeray, The Adventures of Philip on His Way Through the World Showing who Robbed Him, who Helped Him, and who Passed Him by:
      he had a word for the hostler about that “gray mare,” a nod for the “shooter” or guard, and a bow for the dragsman;
    • 2015, Christopher James, Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of the Ruby Elephants, →ISBN:
      If one of them dragsmen saw my growler stopping' on the road he'll 'ave his shiv to our throats before you can say Jack Horner.'
    • 2015, A.E. Wasserman, 1884 No Boundaries, →ISBN:
      On trips to the country estate in Kent, south of London, Pelham was adept at preventing dragsmen from cutting the luggage from the carriage.
  4. One who drags a body of water in search of something that is submerged.
    • 1827 January 1, “Quadrille Conversations”, in The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, volume 19:
      Ten figures of eight cut in five minutes -- ice broken -- dreadful catastrophe -- a score of skaiters fell in -- Humane Society called out -- Drags and dragsmen in full cry.
    • 1860, Bentley's Miscellany - Volume 48, page 179:
      After several hours' labour in the deep and fast-flowing waters of the Suir, the dragsmen struck upon a body that was lying still at the bottom of the river, about two hundred yards from the place where the hat was found, and a short way from the shore.
    • 1866, Charles Reade, Griffith Gaunt; or, Jealousy:
      The next day a score of amateur dragsmen were out: some throwing their drags from the bridge; some circulating in boats, and even in large tubs.
  5. One who moves the carts or sledges at a mine; a putter.
    • 1834, Charles Knight, The Penny Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, page 127:
      On the coal being detached in the manner above described, a corve, tub, or basket, is then brought to the spot on a four-wheeled train, by a man and boy, technically called a " dragsman and foal," and when filled with the scattered fragments, it is dragged to the bottom of the shaft, hooked to the end of the rope, and drawn to the top in about three minutes. When the corbes are made of iron they are called tubs, and the labours of the dragsman and his assistant are then performed by horses.
    • 1877, “Sledge-Life in the Arctic Regions”, in All the Year Round, page 251:
      A rope in front of each was for the use of the crew as dragsmen
    • 1987, Melissa Scott, The kindly ones, →ISBN, page 89:
      Not bad, considering we had an inexperienced dragsman, the heavy sledge, and no jill.
    • 2016, Eileen Burnett, South Shields in the 1950s: Ten Years that Changed a Town, →ISBN:
      Men worked both above ground as well as below ground and the jobs varied considerably: underground were a timberer who fashioned and installed timber supports to support the walls and ceiling in the mine; a driller, who drilled holes in the face to place dynamite or other explosives; a hewer, whose hob it was to hew the rock; a collier, or a hewer, who hewed the coal with a pick; a barrowman who transported the broken coal from the face to the wheelbarrows; a loader (also known as a bandsman) who loaded the mining carts with coal at the face; a putter (also known as a drags-man) who worked the carts around the mine; and a harrier who transported the coal carts to the surface.
  6. One who lays down the scent trail for a hunt.
    • 1898, Country Life Illustrated - Volume 3, page 582:
      The country to be ridden over is selected the day before the run by the huntsman, who walks over the whole line with the dragsman, the legitimacy of the trail being assured by no mark of any kind being left on the line except on fences in which there is barbed wire.
    • 1902, Francis M. Ware, First-hand Bits of Stable-lore, page 286:
      The dragsman, if regularly employed, may also help about horses and kennels, and work "by the run" (at $5); or for so much per month, or the kennelman may also lay drag, and will be glad of the chance, if an active fellow, as he must be.
    • 2010, Lyndon Stacey, Time to Pay, →ISBN, page 174:
      The unseen dragsman had laid a short and clear opening trail, and the hounds hunted it briskly.
    • 2012, Carol A. Butler, Les Sellnow, Knowing Horses: Q&As to Boost Your Equine IQ, →ISBN, page 159:
      To prepare for a drag hunt, a dragsman puts down a scent trail, or dragline, by dragging along the ground a bag that contains animal droppings, urine, or aniseed along with paraffin or another fixative that prevents the scent from evaporating.