rag·​ged | \ ˈra-gəd How to pronounce ragged (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ragged

raggedly adverb
raggedness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ragged


broken, craggy, jagged, scraggly, scraggy


clean, even, smooth, soft, unbroken

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Their mother wasn’t happy with the ragged look, caused because Anton used papers made for cutting paper. oregonlive.com, "From her spot behind the chair, Portland hair stylist bears witness to a changing world for women," 23 June 2019 The fish was a bit overcooked, a long, ragged fillet on a white plate bearing the restaurant’s name. Michael Mayo, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: The Terrace Grill at the Dalmar in Fort Lauderdale is a good-looking disappointment," 20 June 2019 This Brussels native, who is 39, paints landscapes like a ragged Dr. Seuss with his focus turned to zoom. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "Meet the Art World’s Rising Stars," 16 June 2019 The ragged scar running throat to navel, from his open-heart surgery. oregonlive.com, "Don’t worry, Dad, I remember you," 16 June 2019 The window closest to the stairs, with a ragged white curtain hanging behind the bars. Aimée Lutkin, Curbed, "Losing a home you’ve already left," 6 June 2019 Kagalula had to restart his life from scratch and now lives in a ragged straw hut. Alec Jacobson, National Geographic, "Fishermen fight to survive on the world's second largest lake," 3 May 2019 The tailgate wasn’t rusty, but the bodywork inside it was a twisted orange confusion of ragged metal. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Recurring Heartbreak of Buying Cars on Craigslist," 30 May 2019 Kentucky came out blazing against the nation’s top field-goal defense and then gutted out a ragged second half thanks to Herro’s big 3-pointer. Eric Olson, The Seattle Times, "Herro late 3-pointer lifts Kentucky over Houston, to Elite 8," 30 Mar. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of ragged

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ragged

Statistics for ragged

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ragged

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce ragged (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ragged

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ragged

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ragged

Spanish Central: Translation of ragged

Nglish: Translation of ragged for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ragged for Arabic Speakers

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).


characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!