In some western movies, there are a lot of violent scenes. For example, a man on horseback ties and pulls an outlaw on the ground. My question is: What is the correct verb that can be used to describe the act of drawing an outlaw behind on the ground?

  • There is no specific word for dragging somebody behind a horse.
    – Emma Dash
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 22:08
  • This is the "drawn" part of hanged, drawn, and quartered. It is a truly ancient form of punishment and was part of the penal code of England from around 1300 until about 1820 old illustration
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 0:53

6 Answers 6


It's called "lassoing" — Dictionary.com

verb (used with object) lassoed, lassoing. to catch with or as with a lasso.

"He lassoed the villain and dragged him along the ground."

  • 5
    "lassoing" is the act of capturing, and doesn't describe what follows. Commented May 28, 2016 at 19:13
  • 9
    And only greenhorns call it lassoing, cowboys call it roping.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 20:08

I would say "dragging"M-W

verb to cause (something) to move along the ground, floor, etc., by pulling it

"The cowboy tied the outlaw up and took off on his horse, dragging the outlaw behind him."

  • Thanks Ron. BTW, can "drag" be used whether there is a rope or not?
    – mido mido
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 15:33
  • Yes. Anytime you pull something along behind you.
    – Ron Kyle
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 15:43
  • @midomido - And the usage is not restricted to American cowboys. From "The Bastard King of England": "Then the Earl of Sussex jumped on his horse and straightway rode to France/ where he made a pass and stripped the sash from Phillip's pajama pants./ Then in front of a fhrong/ he slipped on a thong then jumped on his horse and galloped along/ dragging Phillip back to merry England." And yes, he was dragged along by exactly the body part you might expect. Commented May 29, 2016 at 3:18



verb (used with object) 10. to catch with a lasso; lasso. (Dictionary.com)


Yes, for instance, roping bandits with that Mexican lasso that the cowboys gave her last season.

Also try leashing, tethering, noosing.


Wrangle means to

"round up, herd, or take charge of (livestock)."

It doesn't explicitly mean to drag someone in a literal sense, but the word does carry a connotation that its subject is being controlled forcibly.

Source: Many hundreds of hours spent watching westerns with my father.

  • 1
    This word is more commonly used to describe an action of using one's arms and hands to round up livestock, not a rope Commented May 29, 2016 at 18:56

There's not a lot of historical discussion readily available. So we can imagine that "lasso'd and dragged" would fit the style of language associated with the old West.

Or possibly just dragged, since that already implies that a tethering of some sort has occurred.

Another possibility is "drawn" which doesn't have a specific connection to the American West; but that is an old legal sense of the word in English. (see drawn and quartered http://www.britannica.com/topic/drawing-and-quartering)



  1. to soil by dragging over damp ground or in mud.
  2. to trail on the ground; be or become draggled.
  3. to follow slowly; straggle.

Also, "drabble" (Ref. - http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-slang-d.html)

Also, "dragging death"

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