Toerag

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12 comments on this post.
  1. Topi Linkala:

    I have to point out that properly folded toerag is much more easing for the foot in long treks than a sock.

    The fiinish military still offers them for soldiers and those in the know use them on long marches.

  2. Dave:

    I prefer “rapscallion,” myself. Or perhaps even scalliwag.

  3. Joseph Vandam:

    Pick the cats food up and put it on top of something..They can jump up onto and she cant reach…She will eat hers when she cant get ahold of the cats…

  4. Sam Milsom:

    The Term Toerag actually stems from early as the 1700’s possibly earlier. A toerag or Toe Rag is a length of rope which dangled in the water at the head of the ship, which is where the toilet is (or a hole which overhanged the water) hence the toilet being called The Head in the Royal Navy. The Toerag which was dangled in the water to keep clean was used to wipe your rear end, so you would want to be the first person to use the head in the morning as the Toerag would be fresh rather than by 11am would have been used by most of the ships company and would be rather rancid.

  5. Paul Kane:

    Toe Rag is a character in a book by Douglas Adams, A goblin in fact. “The long dark teatime of the soul”

  6. Jeff Ward:

    I believe tow rag originated as a rag soaked in grease use on ships when under tow to wrap round the tow rope to stop it chaffing on the deck.

  7. Lizzie:

    As a C17th re enactor, my understanding is that ‘tow rag’ is a menstruation cloth. ‘Tow’ being an old word for red. We still use it to describe red hair, as in a tow headed person. A tow rag is something, whose very existence we would prefer to ignore.

  8. David SM:

    I have always understood to call a person a ‘tow rag’ was to equate them to the wads of discarded, waste tow (hemp, flax, cotton etc.) used by engineers and machine minders in the old textile mills to clean oil etc. off their hands. In the days of steam trains, the drivers and firemen often had tow rags hanging from the pockets of their overalls. Similarly mechanics in garages. Therefore to call someone a tow rag was to equate them with a worthless wad of soiled tow.

  9. Keith H. Burgess:

    Tow rag goes back to at least the 18th century, & it is simply what it says it is, a rag made from tow. Tow rag was often used in city & town homes for making tinder for fire lighting with flint,steel & tinderbox.
    Much later, in the 20th century it became an expression of derision, meaning lowest of the low. The same as bung hole meant lowest of the low in the 17th century. A bung hole was the drain hole in a variety of vessels.
    Regards, Keith.

  10. Rubyfelixir:

    It occurs to me that there might be some confusion caused by a resemblance with a word that would possibly be “towel-rag”, a cut off bit of towel used as a rag to absorb and clean up grease and oil.

  11. Garvey Humphrey:

    David S.M. gave the most accurate definition of ‘towrag’. I worked in and visited many factories before joining the Forces during WWII and towrag was the common name for the rags used for wiping down machinery. In the Army, the piece of cleaning rag, stored, 2ith the ‘pull-through’ in the butt of the Lee Enfield and No. 4 Rifles, was called a’4 by 2′ but was also called a towrag by many soldiers.

  12. Gavin Alexander:

    I think the origin of “toerag” may be from the Irish word, toruighe, for an outlaw or robber. The same word that gave rise to the word Tory. Obviously this version has the “g” pronounced, either from spread via writing, from the same word pronounced in a different dialect, or pronounced to reflect a different sense or context. It certainly embodies the right sort of negative connotations for an undesirable person (just like the Tories).

    Eg: https://www.etymonline.com/word/tory

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