As a verb, the original meaning of rag means to tear into pieces or tear into rags, and dates from the late 1400s. Rag as in to tease or annoy dates from the late 18th century and derives from the same source although the meaning is more figurative. Rag, in the sense of a worthless piece of cloth, is used derogatively to mean a cheap magazine or newspaper and dates from the mid-18th century. Rag, meaning a jollification or merry making was a military colloquial expression during the late 19th century and was taken up around the same time by university students to describe their rags or jollifications. Since the mid-19th century, rags has been US slang for clothes. Rags meaning clothing is now part of Standard English in expressions like glad rags and rag trade. See also lose one’s rag.