rag·​ged | \ˈra-gəd \

Definition of ragged 

1 : roughly unkempt

2 : having an irregular edge or outline

3a : torn or worn to tatters

b : worn-out from stress and strain ran herself ragged

4 : wearing tattered clothes

5a : straggly

b : executed in an irregular or uneven manner

c of a sound : harsh, dissonant

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Other Words from ragged

raggedly adverb
raggedness noun

Examples of ragged in a Sentence

a boy in ragged jeans You look a little ragged—did you have a rough week?

Recent Examples on the Web

Among the vitrines, the scholar’s eye fell upon a ragged bit of a sixth-century papyrus fragment containing lines from Galatians 2 in Coptic. Nina Burleigh, Newsweek, "The Messiah Cometh: Hobby Lobby's Museum of the Bible Descends on the Nation's Capital," 7 Apr. 2016 Pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns rumbled past the ragged tents of the displaced bound for the front. Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, "Could Yemen’s humanitarian crisis — the most dire in the world — be about to get dramatically worse?," 14 June 2018 Los Angeles Times As people peeked out from ragged tents next to Angel Stadium in the early-morning darkness Wednesday, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter strode briskly through the vast homeless encampment along the Santa Ana River trail. Benjamin Oreskes, latimes.com, "Essential California: 'Black Panther,' already a cultural moment, is about to shatter movie business assumptions," 15 Feb. 2018 The strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani could run ragged over any defense in this competition. Kellen Becoats, SI.com, "2018 World Cup Group A Preview: Uruguay Favored; All Eyes on Salah, Hosts," 7 June 2018 Hitt observed the lawyer’s tall, folksy charisma in all its ragged glory, from his dusty black shoes to the silk top hat in which Lincoln carried his case notes. Matt Damsker, USA TODAY, "Honest Abe is courtroom star in Dan Abrams' entertaining history, 'Lincoln's Last Trial'," 6 June 2018 Under a freeway overpass, beneath a busy bridge, the ragged tents and shopping carts multiply, communities of human beings glimpsed in the rear-view mirrors of passing motorists. Marjie Lundstrom, sacbee, "Blood, syringes, feces: Caltrans workers seek protections for clearing homeless camps | The Sacramento Bee," 30 Apr. 2018 Not To Sue, and when the thick envelope arrived, a ragged tab was already ripped open on the back flap due to rough handling in the mail. Liz Arnold, Longreads, "Making Peace with the Site of a Suicide," 11 July 2018 Nuggets of fried okra made up the best side dish by far, hot and crisp with a ragged and raspy breading spiked with cornmeal. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: Get the South out of your mouth at Hoppin’ John," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ragged.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ragged

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for ragged

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for ragged

The first known use of ragged was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ragged



English Language Learners Definition of ragged

: having an edge or surface that is not straight or even

: in bad condition especially because of being torn

: wearing clothes that are torn and in poor condition


rag·​ged | \ˈra-gəd \

Kids Definition of ragged

1 : having a rough or uneven edge or outline ragged cliffs

2 : very worn-out : tattered ragged clothes

3 : wearing very worn-out clothes

4 : done in an uneven way a ragged performance

Other Words from ragged

raggedly adverb
raggedness noun

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Comments on ragged

What made you want to look up ragged? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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