toe-rag and toe-bag

Matthew Gordon gordonmj at MISSOURI.EDU
Tue May 5 21:54:26 UTC 2009

The Cold Case example sounds like a suitable-for-TV reshaping of "ho bag" or
maybe a blend of "ho bag" + "toe rag."

On 5/5/09 9:37 AM, "Arnold Zwicky" <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU> wrote:

> over on Language Log, the following posting
> ML, 5/2/09: Annals of word rage:
> mentioned "toe-rag", with some commenters attesting to its use in
> british slang.  there's an OED entry.  originally it referred to a rag
> wrapped around the foot, serving in place of a sock.  then it
> developed a metonymic use, referring to the sort of people (tramps and
> vagrants) likely to use toe-rags, then generalized to refer to a
> "despicable or worthless person" (as the OED puts it), and on to use
> as a generic epithet.  nice development.
> that's background to what i came across this morning, in an episode of
> the television show Cold Case ("Stand Up and Holler", first aired 1
> April 2007), a cop show set in Philadelphia: the epithet "toe-bag".
> here's the quote, from a young woman talking contemptuously about her
> relationship with a fellow cheerleader in high school: "I rescued that
> toe-bag from Loserville!"

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