Word of the Day: nag

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Word of the Day
March 18, 2016
nag (verb, noun)
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Teenagers often think their parents are nagging them.
Nag is a word used informally among native speakers. It means 'to annoy by constant demands or criticism,' or 'to be the cause of pain, irritation, or unease.' Even more informally, a nag is a person who nags and irritates other people all the time.


Example sentences


Every summer my husband nags me about putting on sunblock; he's right of course, because I burn easily and I always forget!
Henry went to see the doctor about a pain that had been nagging him for some time.
The painter was always nagged by doubts about how good her work was.
My boss is such a nag and never just leaves us alone to get on with the job.


Multi-word forms
You can also use nag without a direct object, in which case it takes the preposition at. Example: "The idea that she had left the oven on kept nagging at Frances."
Nag is also used without an object and with the adverb "on" to mean that someone keeps nagging. Example: "Teenagers often complain that their parents are always nagging on about how much TV they watch."
Additional information
A nag is also a horse, usually an old horse that someone considers worthless.
Did you know?
When talking about a person nagging or being a nag, the word used to mainly be associated with women. However, in these less sexist times, most people recognize that both men and women can nag a lot!
Other forms
nagger (noun)
Nag dates back to the early 19th century and comes from the Old Norse word nagga, meaning 'to rub, grumble, quarrel;' it is akin to the Middle Low German word naggen, meaning 'to irritate.'
Nag in other languages
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