Rag, tag and bobtail
Rag, tag and bobtail means ‘the whole lot’ or a motley collection of people and means much the same thing as Tom, Dick and Harry. It derives from an older, obsolete word ‘tag-rag’ which dates from the early 1500s and meant riffraff or rabble. Over the years, ‘tag-rag’ was inverted to ‘rag-tag’ and by the early 19th century, the word ‘bobtail’ was added. No one knows quite why, because a bobtail is a horse or a dog with a docked tail. Thus, rag, tag and bobtail came to describe a whole collection of motley people, including their horses and dogs - the whole lot of them.