Tuesday 15 May 2012

Run Ragged

According to the dictionary

ragged- to be tattered, frayed, or torn

run ragged – to be worn out from stress or strain

teacher  on treadmillI know these words already. Most mothers – and teachers- will recognise them too!

But last month I came across the word ragged in print – and it made no sense in the given context. Then the ‘educational professional’ present actually said it…and it still made no sense to me.

“These results have been ragged” she said. She pronounced it to rhyme with flagged/snagged/bragged etc.

ragrollingI remember back in the 80’s that friends ragged the walls of their lounge with paint.

ragged – to have given a decorative effect to a surface by applying paint of a different colour, with a rag.

But that still made no sense. So I asked what she meant.

[I tell my pupils that even if you feel stupid asking the teacher a question, you can be sure that there are at least two others in the class who want to ask that question too, but are not brave enough, and they will be really grateful to you. Appreciative glances from my colleagues showed this to be true for my question!]

OK, readers – in case you don’t know either – if a document has been ragged, it means that sections have been marked in colour -

red, amber, green, depending on their significance.

traffic-light-label1In these results-obsessed days in the education world, expect much more ragging.

And if the current government consultation regarding food labelling works out, you are going to be eating more ragged food too!




Just for the fun of it, I have ragged Michel Gove!


  1. And he doesn't look any less gormless in glorious technicolour!!! :)

  2. Thanks for explaining this Angela, I have learnt something new!

  3. Colour still makes him a colourless sort! Sorry, but I just can't warm to the man!

  4. Charity shop staff I have spoken to also use the term' ragged' (to rhyme with snagged) to describe what they do with items which according to them aren't fit for sale. ' They get ragged' was their explanation. Have to say I agree with Anne about Michael Gove!

    1. Presumably that means 'sent for rags'? I know Oxfam [and other charities] have a very strict policy that absolutely nothing is wasted, however poor the quality.

  5. Does the Gove ragging rhyme with debagging/bragging/sagging and slagging, which is all he would get here?

  6. Sounds as though I'm lucky not to hve a clue who the Andy Warholesque guy is!
    Jane x

  7. That 'ragged' is a new one on me. I am familiar with ragging items of clothing whether in charity shops or ragging home clothes to make rags for cleaning. Hope this SATs week goes by quickly for you. Been there, done that!!!
    Love from Mum


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