Borrowed from Old Norse dregg (“sediment”), from Proto-Germanic *dragjō (whence also Icelandic dregg, Swedish drägg), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰragʰ- (“sediment”); see also Latin fraces (“lees of oil”), Albanian ndrag (“to make dirty, foul”), dra (“sediments of dairy products or liquids”).
dreg (plural dregs)
- Sediment in a liquid.
- By extension, the lowest and most worthless part of something.
- (often plural, insult) scum; filth
This term is usually used in plural: see dregs.
- 1602?: What makes this pretty abruption? What too curious dreg espies my sweet lady in the fountain of our love? — William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida
- 1768:O! be the cup of joy to thee consign'd, / Of joy unmix'd, without a dreg behind! — William Hayley, from 'On the Fear of Death, An Epistle to a Lady, 1768', in Poems on Serious and Sacred Subjects 1818.
- 1910: Fear and trauma may drain to the last dreg the dischargeable nervous energy, and, therefore, the greatest possible exhaustion may be produced by fear and trauma. George W. Crile. in an address delivered at the Massachusetts General Hospital 15 Oct 1910, collected in The Origin and Nature of Emotions
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.048