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lose one’s rag

  1. (slang) To become angry.
    • 1928, Ethel May Dell, The Gate Marked "Private", G. P. Putnam's Sons, page 248,
      [] he could not have said wherefore. “She was dressed as a bride if you must know,” he said. “But I don’t know what you’ve got to lose your rag about. She’s nothing to you.”
    • c1934, in Famous Plays of 1933–1934, page 449,
      Doll: Well, I’ll be trotting along. Sorry I lost my rag with […]
    • 1937, Arthur Calder-Marshall, Pie in the Sky, C. Scribner’s sons, page 315,
      [] home now and was I going to come with him or wasn’t I? And I lost my rag and said, no, it was his duty to take me home, not mine to take him.
    • 1944, in William Boyd (Ed.), Evacuation in Scotland: A Record of Events and Experiments, University of London Press, Ltd., page 187,
      There is frankness of discussion and remark. For instance, it is quite usual for a visiting member of the staff to ask, ‘How is your temper these days?’ The reply might be, ‘I haven’t lost my rag for a week,’ which is an achievement.
    • 2006, Louise Rennison, Startled by His Furry Shorts, HarperCollins, →ISBN, page 127–128,
      The last time I went to God’s house, Call-Me-Arnold lost his rag with me. Which is a bit un-Christian. After all, there was no real damage done vis-à-vis the elderly pensioner’s scarf inferno incident.
    • 2007, Patricia Ferguson, Peripheral Vision, Solidus, →ISBN, page 295,
      ‘Come on, everyone loses their rag occasionally. It can’t be that bad. []
    • 2016, Lucy Kellaway on BBC "Business Daily" (April 18)
      E-mail alone didn't make the office passive-aggressive, as we were going that way anyway. It all started a couple of decades ago when the four great forces of modern office life, political correctness, HR, PR, and litigiousness, ruled that it was no longer acceptable to lose your rag.

Usage notesEdit

  • Used with with when the anger is directed at a person
    When I told him about the accident, he lost his rag with me.
  • Used with about or over when the anger is caused by an event
    There's no need to lose your rag over missing the train!