Wag vs Nag - What's the difference?

wag | nag |

As verbs the difference between wag and nag

is that wag is while nag is to repeatedly remind or complain to someone in an annoying way, often about insignificant matters.

As a noun nag is

a small horse; a pony or nag can be one who.




  • To swing from side to side, especially of an animal's tail
  • * Shakespeare
  • No discerner durst wag his tongue in censure.
  • * Bible, Jer. xviii. 16
  • Every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head.
  • (UK, Australia, slang) To play truant from school.
  • * 1848 , Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son, xxii
  • "My misfortunes all began in wagging,'' Sir; but what could I do, exceptin' ''wag''?" "Excepting what?" said Mr. Carker. "''Wag,'' Sir. ''Wagging'' from school." "Do you mean pretending to go there, and not going?" said Mr. Carker. "Yes, Sir, that's ''wagging, Sir."
  • * 1901 , William Sylvester Walker, In the Blood, i. 13
  • They had "wagged it" from school, as they termed it, which..meant truancy in all its forms.
  • (obsolete) To be in action or motion; to move; to get along; to progress; to stir.
  • * Shakespeare
  • "Thus we may see," quoth he, "how the world wags ."
  • (obsolete) To go; to depart.
  • * Shakespeare
  • I will provoke him to 't, or let him wag .

    Derived terms

    * (to not go to school) play the wag; hop the wag; wag it * to finger-wag

    See also

    * waggle (frequentative) * wiggle


    (en noun)
  • An oscillating movement.
  • The wag of my dog's tail expresses happiness.
  • A witty person.
  • See also

    * skivitis


    * The Oxford English Dictionary, (1989) Accessed 23 Feb. 2006. * Jonathon Green, "wag," The Cassell Dictionary of Slang, (1998) p. 1257.


    * ----



    Etymology 1

    (etyl) nagge'', cognate with Dutch ''negge


    (en noun)
  • A small horse; a pony.
  • An old useless horse.
  • (obsolete, derogatory) A paramour.
  • * 1598 , , III. x. 11:
  • Yon ribaudred nag of Egypt – Whom leprosy o'ertake!
    * (old useless horse) dobbin, hack, jade, plug
    Coordinate terms
    * (old useless horse) bum (racing )

    Etymology 2

    Probably from a (etyl) source; compare Swedish .


  • To repeatedly remind or complain to someone in an annoying way, often about insignificant matters.
  • To act inappropriately in the eyes of peers, to backstab, to verbally abuse.
  • To bother with persistent memories.
  • The notion that he forgot something nagged him the rest of the day.
  • Other sorts of persistent annoyance, e.g.:
  • A nagging pain in his left knee
    A nagging north wind


    (en noun)
  • One who .
  • Anagrams

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