2 : composed of diverse often incongruous elements : motley
Did You Know?
Tag and rag was a relatively common expression in the 16th and 17th centuries, and it was often used pejoratively to refer to members of the lower classes of society. By the 18th century, the phrase had been expanded to ragtag and bobtail. That expression could mean either "the lower classes" or "the entire lot of something" (as opposed to just the more desirable parts—the entire unit of an army, for example, not just its more capable soldiers). Something described as ragtag and bobtail, then, was usually common and unspectacular. Ragtag and bobtail was eventually shortened to ragtag, the adjective we know today, which can describe an odd mixture that is often hastily assembled or second-rate.
"Cyndi Lauper was one of the biggest stars of the '80's MTV era…. Her girlish voice and gleefully ragtag appearance became one of the most distinctive images of the time, which helped catapult her to stardom." — The Arizona Republic, 28 Sept. 2016
"[Howard] Shore was a core member of the show's small, ragtag team and not only composed the free-form jazz pieces that opened and closed the show … but also wrote songs and dramatic underscores, appeared in sketches and was in charge of booking musical guests." — Tim Greiving, The Washington Post, 1 Jan. 2017
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of ragtag meaning "unkempt": _ _ r _ u _ gy.VIEW THE ANSWER
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