There is an English word "dag" with various senses divided up into various etymologies.

This question is about just one particular sense having this definition on Wiktionary:

A hanging end or shred, in particular a long pointed strip of cloth at the edge of a piece of clothing, or one of a row of decorative strips of cloth that may ornament a tent, booth or fairground.

From this description it seems "dags" must be these, which I've known since childhood but never thought about what they might be called until recently:
photo of a string of dags?

From the Wikipedia article where I found this image, I've learned they are also known as "bunting", though bunting comes in many forms and this might not be the prototypical one people would think of first.

As an Australian I have to say I am very familiar with two other senses of this word and this question is not about those, so please don't answer about these:

  • Wool dirty with feces around a sheep's backside.
  • An unfashionable or socially awkward person.

I'm only specifically asking about the one sense that seems to fit the picture and the Wiktionary definition.

Can anybody verify that "dag" is in fact a term referring to the decoration in this photo?

I would expect evidence to come from a large and/or old dictionary or encyclopedia, but perhaps also an illustrative sentence. It may be regional and/or no longer used.

Here are some more photographs I found via Google, but which I don't believe are free to include due to copyright, so I'm only providing links to them: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

  • I can't believe there is a word to describe such dirty wool, and I can't resist: Is that an Australian idiom?
    – terdon
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 19:06
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    @terdon: It's certainly common knowledge in Australia, where wool was formerly one of the most important parts of the economy. But I doubt it's an Australia-specific term. I'd assume it's also used in New Zealand and is probably from Britain. Apparently there's a variant "daglock" that I only know from looking up those senses in dictionaries in the past. That doesn't mean "dag" is shortened from "daglock" but it might be. Check the biggest dictionary you have access to. Check out the Wikipedia article "crutching". Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 19:09
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    My quick search suggests that it is indeed an australian/NZ term. What a wonderful insult!
    – terdon
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 19:11
  • @terdon: On account of their intimate familiarity with the rear ends of sheep, obviously Australians do need such terms. (I've always assumed dangleberry was primarily a "down under" term, so to speak! :) Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 21:40
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    @FumbleFingers well, yeah, that was kind of the point of my first comment. Were I talking to a brit, I would have wondered if the term came from Wales. I like adapting my baseless prejudices to the origin of the person I happen to be talking to :)
    – terdon
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


I (in England) have never heard these called anything but bunting which covers all sorts of litle flags on long strings. The OED has a meaning "A pendant pointed portion of anything", particularly the triangles on a garment that has been cut with a zigzag bottom, so I suppose the flags could be covered; but really, how often do you need to distinguish triangular bunting from the square sort?

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    I have no idea, but words and senses don't care about what I need to distinguish. They exist independently of my needs (-: I'm curious about the doodads, curious about this sense of the word, and curious as to where the definition in Wiktionary may have been sourced from. Apparently not from the OED but they do overlap with the Wiktionary one going into further specifics/subsense. Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 18:44

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