drag on

verb (used with object), dragged, drag·ging.

  1. to draw with force, effort, or difficulty; pull heavily or slowly along; haul; trail: They dragged the carpet out of the house.
  2. to search with a drag, grapnel, or the like: They dragged the lake for the body of the missing man.
  3. to level and smooth (land) with a drag or harrow.
  4. to introduce; inject; insert: He drags his honorary degree into every discussion.
  5. to protract (something) or pass (time) tediously or painfully (often followed by out or on): They dragged the discussion out for three hours.
  6. to pull (a graphical image) from one place to another on a computer display screen, especially by using a mouse.

verb (used without object), dragged, drag·ging.

  1. to be drawn or hauled along.
  2. to trail on the ground.
  3. to move heavily or with effort.
  4. to proceed or pass with tedious slowness: The parade dragged by endlessly.
  5. to feel listless or apathetic; move listlessly or apathetically (often followed by around): This heat wave has everyone dragging around.
  6. to lag behind.
  7. to use a drag or grapnel; dredge.
  8. to take part in a drag race.
  9. to take a puff: to drag on a cigarette.


  1. Nautical.
    1. a designed increase of draft toward the stern of a vessel.
    2. resistance to the movement of a hull through the water.
    3. any of a number of weights dragged cumulatively by a vessel sliding down ways to check its speed.
    4. any object dragged in the water, as a sea anchor.
    5. any device for dragging the bottom of a body of water to recover or detect objects.
  2. Agriculture. a heavy wooden or steel frame drawn over the ground to smooth it.
  3. Slang. someone or something tedious; a bore: It’s a drag having to read this old novel.
  4. a stout sledge or sled.
  5. Aeronautics. the aerodynamic force exerted on an airfoil, airplane, or other aerodynamic body that tends to reduce its forward motion.
  6. a four-horse sporting and passenger coach with seats inside and on top.
  7. a metal shoe to receive a wheel of heavy wagons and serve as a brake on steep grades.
  8. something that retards progress.
  9. an act of dragging.
  10. slow, laborious movement or procedure; retardation.
  11. a puff or inhalation on a cigarette, pipe, etc.
  12. Hunting.
    1. the scent left by a fox or other animal.
    2. something, as aniseed, dragged over the ground to leave an artificial scent.
    3. Also called drag hunt.a hunt, especially a fox hunt, in which the hounds follow an artificial scent.
  13. Angling.
    1. a brake on a fishing reel.
    2. the sideways pull on a fishline, as caused by a crosscurrent.
  14. clothing characteristically associated with one sex when worn by a person of the opposite sex: a Mardi Gras ball at which many of the dancers were in drag.
  15. clothing characteristic of a particular occupation or milieu: Two guests showed up in gangster drag.
  16. Also called comb. Masonry. a steel plate with a serrated edge for dressing a stone surface.
  17. Metallurgy. the lower part of a flask.Compare cope2(def 5).
  18. Slang. influence: He claims he has drag with his senator.
  19. Slang. a girl or woman that one is escorting; date.
  20. Informal. a street or thoroughfare, especially a main street of a town or city.
  21. a drag race.
  22. Eastern New England. a sledge, as for carrying stones from a field.


  1. marked by or involving the wearing of clothing characteristically associated with the opposite sex; transvestite.
  1. drag one’s feet/heels, to act with reluctance; delay: The committee is dragging its feet coming to a decision.

verb drags, dragging or dragged

  1. to pull or be pulled with force, esp along the ground or other surface
  2. (tr; often foll by away or from) to persuade to come away (from something attractive or interesting)he couldn’t drag himself away from the shop
  3. to trail or cause to trail on the ground
  4. (tr) to move (oneself, one’s feet, etc) with effort or difficultyhe drags himself out of bed at dawn
  5. to linger behind
  6. (often foll by on or out) to prolong or be prolonged tediously or unnecessarilyhis talk dragged on for hours
  7. (tr foll by out) to pass (time) in discomfort, poverty, unhappiness, etche dragged out his few remaining years
  8. (when intr, usually foll by for) to search (the bed of a river, canal, etc) with a dragnet or hookthey dragged the river for the body
  9. (tr foll by out or from) to crush (clods) or level (a soil surface) by use of a drag
  10. (of hounds) to follow (a fox or its trail) to the place where it has been lying
  11. (intr) slang to draw (on a cigarette, pipe, etc)
  12. computing to move (data) from one place to another on the screen by manipulating a mouse with its button held down
  13. drag anchor (of a vessel) to move away from its mooring because the anchor has failed to hold
  14. drag one’s feet or drag one’s heels informal to act with deliberate slowness
  15. drag someone’s name in the mud to disgrace or defame someone


  1. the act of dragging or the state of being dragged
  2. an implement, such as a dragnet, dredge, etc, used for dragging
  3. Also called: drag harrow a type of harrow consisting of heavy beams, often with spikes inserted, used to crush clods, level soil, or prepare seedbeds
  4. a sporting coach with seats inside and out, usually drawn by four horses
  5. a braking or retarding device, such as a metal piece fitted to the underside of the wheel of a horse-drawn vehicle
  6. a person or thing that slows up progress
  7. slow progress or movement
  8. aeronautics the resistance to the motion of a body passing through a fluid, esp through air: applied to an aircraft in flight, it is the component of the resultant aerodynamic force measured parallel to the direction of air flow
  9. the trail of scent left by a fox or other animal hunted with hounds
  10. an artificial trail of a strong-smelling substance, sometimes including aniseed, drawn over the ground for hounds to follow
  11. See drag hunt
  12. angling unnatural movement imparted to a fly, esp a dry fly, by tension on the angler’s line
  13. informal a person or thing that is very tedious; boreexams are a drag
  14. slang a car
  15. short for drag race
  16. slang
    1. women’s clothes worn by a man, usually by a transvestite (esp in the phrase in drag)
    2. (as modifier)a drag club; drag show
    3. clothes collectively
  17. informal a draw on a cigarette, pipe, etc
  18. US slang influence or persuasive power
  19. mainly US slang a street or road

mid-15c., from Old Norse draga, or a dialectal variant of Old English dragan “to draw,” both ultimately from Proto-Germanic *dragan “to draw, pull,” from PIE root *dhragh- “to draw, drag on the ground” (cf. Sanskrit dhrajati “pulls, slides in,” Russian drogi “wagon;” but not considered to be directly the source of Latin trahere).

Meaning “to take a puff” (of a cigarette, etc.) is from 1914. Related: Dragged; dragging. Drag-out “violent fight” is from c.1859. To drag (one’s) feet (1946, in figurative sense) supposedly is from logging, from a lazy way to use a two-man saw.


c.1300, “dragnet,” perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Swedish dragg “grapnel”) or from Old English dræge “dragnet,” related to dragan “to draw” (see drag (v.)).

Sense of “annoying, boring person or thing” is 1813, perhaps from the notion of something that must be dragged as an impediment. Sense of “women’s clothing worn by a man” is said to be 1870 theater slang, from the sensation of long skirts trailing on the floor (another guess is Yiddish trogn “to wear,” from German tragen); drag queen is from 1941.

Drag racing (1947), is said to be from thieves’ slang drag “automobile” (1935), perhaps ultimately from slang sense of “wagon, buggy” (1755), because a horse would drag it. By 1851 this was transferred to “street,” as in the phrase main drag (which some propose as the source of the racing sense).

In addition to the time trials there are a number of “drag races” between two or more cars. They are run, not for record, but to satisfy the desire of most Americans to see who can get from here to there in the fastest time. [“Popular Mechanics,” January 1947]

  1. A force acting on a moving body, opposite in direction to the movement of the body, caused by the interaction of the body and the medium it moves through. The strength of drag usually depends on the velocity of the body.♦ Drag caused by buildup of pressure in front of the moving body and a decrease in pressure behind the body is called pressure drag. It is an important factor in the design of aerodynamically efficient shapes for cars and airplanes.♦ Drag caused by the viscosity of the medium as the molecules along the body’s surface move through it is called skin drag or skin friction. It is an important factor in the design of efficient surface materials for cars, airplanes, boat hulls, skis, and swimsuits. Compare lift. See Note at aerodynamics.

Also, drag out. Prolong or be prolonged tediously. For example, The speech dragged on for another hour, or He dragged out the story in an excruciating manner. [First half of 1800s]

In addition to the idioms beginning with drag

  • drag in
  • drag on
  • drag one’s ass
  • drag one’s feet
  • drag queen

also see:

  • a drag
  • in drag
  • look like something the cat dragged in
  • main drag
  • wild horses wouldn’t drag me
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