A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Wag (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 2235

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 2235

Wag. n.s. [wœʒan, Saxon, to cheat.] Any one ludicrously mischievous; a merry droll.

Cupid the wag, that lately conquer'd had
Wise counsellors, stout captains puissant;
And ty'd them fast to lead his triumphs bad,
Glutted with them, now plays with meanest things.
Sidney.

Was not my lord the verier wag o' th' two? Shakesp.

We wink at wags, when they offend,
And spare the boy, in hopes the man may mend.
Dryden.

A counsellor never pleaded without a piece of packthread in his hand, which he used to twist about a finger all the while he was speaking: the wags used to call it the thread of his discourse. Addison.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Dryden, John (788) · Sidney, Philip (140) · Stepney, George (5) · Shakespeare's Winter's Tale (43)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Wag (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: October 29, 2013. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=4235.


  1. The quote attributed to Dryden actually comes from a translation of Juvenal’s eighth satire done by George Stepney. Dryden did some of the other translations in that edition of Juvenal (1693).

  2. Brandi on October 29th, 2013 at 8:42 pm

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