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Origins of raggle-taggle

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Roberto 08 Dec 06 - 11:57 AM
Kevin Sheils 08 Dec 06 - 12:14 PM
Paul Burke 08 Dec 06 - 12:30 PM
Jim Dixon 13 Dec 06 - 07:22 AM
IanC 13 Dec 06 - 07:55 AM
Stilly River Sage 14 Dec 06 - 12:29 AM
GUEST,petr 14 Dec 06 - 02:25 PM
leeneia 15 Dec 06 - 09:19 AM
Fiona 15 Dec 06 - 09:48 AM
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Subject: raggle-taggle
From: Roberto
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 11:57 AM

I'd like to know something about this expression, "raggle-taggle", where can the two words come from, etc (from a version of The Gypsy Laddie, The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies). Thank you. R


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Subject: RE: raggle-taggle
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 12:14 PM

tag-rag and bobtail

An expression meaning an assemblage of low people, the mobility of all sorts.

Definition taken from The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, originally by Francis Grose.


Although I tend to know it as rag tag rather than tag-rag

I guess raggle taggle comes from the same source. The rag part "may" refer to trading in rags as in rag and bone men.


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Subject: RE: raggle-taggle
From: Paul Burke
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 12:30 PM

Draggle tail (A slattern who suffers her gown to trail in the mire; a drabble-tail - according to online dictionary) is probably related.


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Subject: RE: raggle-taggle
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 07:22 AM

Possibly relevant definitions from Dictionary of the Scots Language (citations deleted)

RAGGLE
I. v.intr. To wrangle, dispute, bicker, banter; to haggle in bargaining
II. n. A wrangle, dispute, argument
[? Conflation of wrangle and haggle. ?]

RAG
I. n.
  1. A disturbance, a noisy dispute; a scolding.
  2. Phrs.:
    (1) geed at 'e rag, voluble in taunting and chaffing
    (2) to hae a rag oot o, to enjoy a joke at another's expense, to get a laugh out of
    (3) to tak the rag o, to make sport of, make a fool of
II. v. To scold, rate, reproach severely

Taigle,
v. to disarrange, bring into disorder.
tr. To hinder, impede (a person) in a course of action; to keep back, delay (a person

TAIGLE
I. v.
  1. tr. To tangle, confuse, entangle, muddle
  2. To detain, keep back, hinder, harass, trammel, get in the way of ...
  4. tr. To confound or get the better of in an argument, to quiz, bamboozle, to outsmart; to perplex
  5. To delay, linger, dawdle, wait
  6. tr. and intr. To drag (the feet) slowly and heavily, to walk along slowly, to take halting steps.
II. n.
  1. A hindrance, delay, or cause of delay
  2. A tangle, a muddle
  3. A ruffle so as to make untidy
  4. An idle lounging person, a dawdling slut


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Subject: RE: raggle-taggle
From: IanC
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 07:55 AM

Raggle-Taggle [adj] English (sometimes Rag-Tag) - still in common usage in parts of England (like for example Cambridgeshire villages, where I originate). Meaning Scruffy, Disorganised, Unwashed. Probably onomatopoeic and certainly associated with tangled hair. I have no idea of the history, except that it was used irregularly both by my mother and grandmother.


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Subject: RE: Origins of raggle-taggle
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 12:29 AM

Up until the 1830s all paper was made from rag. Rag pickers were common, and it was considered a very low end sort of job. With the industrial revolution and the development of the Fourdrinier paper making machines (putting out continuous rolls instead of hand-made sheets) the rag pickers couldn't keep up with demand so others types of paper were developed and wood cellulose won out. Linguistically things stick around a lot longer than the thing that they describe, and I think the reference to "rag" or "rag tag" has its origins in that kind of work.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Origins of raggle-taggle
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 02:25 PM

thread drift but
the one advantage of rag paper based books (being acid free) long outlast later books made after 1850 from woodcellulose based paper.


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Subject: RE: Origins of raggle-taggle
From: leeneia
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 09:19 AM

My dictionary says that "raggle" is a noun meaning rag or shred. "Taggle" is a verb meaning to tag or follow.

My hat is off to the person (IanC's ancestor, perhaps) who combined the two words to make a memorable combination.


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Subject: RE: Origins of raggle-taggle
From: Fiona
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 09:48 AM

I wonder if it's the same root as this?

Hark! Hark! The dogs do bark!
The beggars are coming to town:
Some in rags, some in tags
And one in a velvet gown

Some info on the origins here,

Elizabethan poor law

fx


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