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Perhaps related to Norwegian skragg (a lean person), dialectal Swedish skragge (old and torn thing), Danish skrog (hull, carcass); perhaps related to shrink.


  • (file)


scrag (plural scrags)

  1. (archaic) A thin or scrawny person or animal. [from the 16th c.]
  2. (archaic) The lean end of a neck of mutton; the scrag end.
  3. (archaic) The neck, especially of a sheep.
  4. (Scotland) A scrog. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  5. (UK, slang, derogatory) A chav or ned; a stereotypically loud and aggressive person of lower social class.
  6. (Australia, slang, derogatory) A rough or unkempt woman.
    • 1998 June 9, Shane, “feed up with noise in cinemas”, in aus.films[1] (Usenet):
      The large guy said that he couldnt sit down the front because of an eye condition, and she said, out loud, "too bad, go down the front".
      This was all heard by most of the crowd, 1 guy called her a bitch, i spoke out loud "what a scrag" which her boyfriend heard, he turned around agro like to defend her, when another guy yelled out "if you get agro about that son, ill be over there to show your girlfriend some manners", to which he promplty sat down :-), but after that she put her feet up on the seat in front of her !!
    • 1999 December 18, Kenny, “The Observer AND the Times: Episode 3.7 Revelations”, in[2] (Usenet):
      Post scrag fight, Buffy is sweetness and light in her cardy and teeny tiny handbag (plus blonde hair) contrasting with Faith who is lying in bed with her kill-me-thrill-me cutoff shorts (plus brunette hair).
    • 2003 June 2, Peter Lucas, “The Chief takes a hit”, in alt.ozdebate[3] (Usenet):
      Get a life, you stupid scrag.
  7. A ragged, stunted tree or branch.

Derived terms[edit]


scrag (third-person singular simple present scrags, present participle scragging, simple past and past participle scragged)

  1. (obsolete, colloquial) To hang on a gallows, or to choke, garotte, or strangle.
    • 1899, Charles John Cutcliffe Hyne, “Atoms of Empire”, in Pall Mall Magazine:
      An enthusiastic mob will scrag me to a certainty the day war breaks out.
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, London: Heinemann, →OCLC, page 37:
      Adrian thought it worth while to try out his new slang... ‘That's beastly talk, Thompson. Jolly well take it back or expect a good scragging.’
  2. To harass; to manhandle.
    • 1958, P. G. Wodehouse, chapter 15, in Cocktail Time:
      '...I urged him ... to ... try the Ickenham System ... a little thing I knocked together in my bachelor days ... it has a good many points in common with all-in wrestling and osteopathy. I generally recommend it to diffident wooers and it always works like magic...'
      Johnny stared.
      'You mean you told McMurdo to … scrag her?'
  3. To destroy or kill.
    • 1897 May, Rudyard Kipling, “Slaves of the Lamp. Part II.”, in Stalky & Co., London: Macmillan & Co., published 1899, →OCLC, page 258:
      [...] I went out lookin' for a line of retreat for my men. A man found me. I abolished him—privatimscragged him.
    • 2009, Steve Augarde, Celandine, →ISBN, page 162:
      But they'll scrag you for it, you know, if you do. They scrag anyone who speaks to me.