To rag on the beast

  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    My understanding (and I'm sure I'll collect some flak over this) is that the term comes from the irritability some women experience while in their menstrual cycle.

    To "rag on" someone would mean to express irritability to that person.

    I'll let someone else give the etymology of this phrase (I know it, but choose not to get in the middle of that conversation).
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Is there really any idiom called 'to rag on the beast'? IF so, what does it mean?
    I've never heard or seen it, and Google turns up only your post, so I would say that this phrase doesn't exist as an expression in English. Please give us the full sentence in which you heard it or read it and tell us who said it, and in what situation. Without that, we can't even guess at what it might mean.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    Rag, meaning "scold," has been around a long time - since at least 1739, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, and it is sometimes used with "on." It doesn't appear to be etymologically related to rag, meaning "scrap of cloth," nor to the phrase "to be on the rag," which dates from 1948 and means "to menstruate" or "to be really cranky and bitchy." The latter meaning can apply to either men or women, by the way, though no doubt the supposed crankiness women are supposed to feel while they are menstruating is the origin of that expression.

    But I've never heard rag on the beast, either. Some context would definitely help. The part about "the beast" is particularly cryptic.
     
    Last edited:

    chagmagus

    Member
    India - Hindi & English
    Rag, meaning "scold," has been around a long time - since at least 1739, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, and it is sometimes used with "on." It doesn't appear to be etymologically related to rag, meaning "scrap of cloth," nor to the phrase "to be on the rag," which dates from 1948 and means "to menstruate" or "to be really cranky and bitchy." The latter meaning can apply to either men or women, by the way, though no doubt the supposed crankiness women are supposed to feel while they are menstruating is the origin of that expression.

    But I've never heard rag on the beast, either. Some context would definitely help. The part about "the beast" is particularly cryptic.

    Thanks. Unfortunately I forgot where I got the phrase from, but from what I can faintly remember about the context, it seems to me that your explanation makes sense. It was a 'misogynistic' comment probably, so I think the poster meant that 'bitchiness' of women or something like that! :)
     
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