run someone ragged



From run + ragged (exhausted, tired, run down).[1]



run someone ragged (third-person singular simple present runs someone ragged, present participle running someone ragged, simple past and past participle ran someone ragged)

  1. (originally US, idiomatic) To exhaust; to demand excessive effort or work from somebody.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:tire
    They’ve been running him ragged trying to keep up with the demand for new features.
    • 1950 January, Stanley Pashko, “Scanning the Sports Scene”, in Irving Crump, editor, Boys’ Life: The Magazine for All Boys, volume XL, number 1, New York, N.Y.: Boy Scouts of America, OCLC 848277009, page 16, column 1:
      A little man by modern-day goon-basketball standards, the five-foot ten-inch speedster [Ralph Beard] handles bigger opponents by running them ragged.
    • 1992, Teresa Kao, “Nikki”, in The Quality of the Light, West Linn, Or.: Gangor Press, →ISBN, page 166:
      Rebeca is busy with the children, who are busy getting into mischief. The baby runs her ragged.
    • 2010, Kaiser Jamal, chapter 1, in A Haunting of Shadows, [Bloomington, Ind.]: Xlibris, →ISBN, page 24:
      The choice of priorities he had chosen gave him the right to demand acceptance of his ways and ignore the needs of others. It gave him the power to insist on servitude and, without thought, dismiss Arnam's pride. It gave him the right to torment, the right to run him ragged when he chose, [...]
    • 2012, Kathryn Meyer Griffith, chapter 17, in Dinosaur Lake, [Scotts Valley, Calif.]: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, →ISBN; republished [Los Gatos, Calif.]: Smashwords Edition, 2014, →ISBN, page 346:
      He's letting me hire four new rangers. Isn't that great? The increase in tourists are running us ragged.
    • 2018 June 18, Phil McNulty, “Tunisia 1 – 2 England”, in BBC Sport[1], archived from the original on 21 April 2019:
      England ran Tunisia ragged in that spell but were punished for missing a host of chances when Ferjani Sassi equalised from the penalty spot against the run of play after Kyle Walker was penalised for an elbow on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef.