• IPA: /ˈdɹæɡl̩ˌteɪld/


  1. (of a person or other animal, or of clothing) Slatternly, untidy, unkempt.
    • 1654, Thomas Gataker, A Discours Apologetical, London: Thomas Newberry, p. 4,
      And yet by the way, as one sometime demanded of one of his complices, How it came to pass, that they, who take upon them by the Stars, to tel everie draggle-tail’d Girl that comes to them to enquire after a Silver Spoon lost, what was become of it, and which way it was gone; yet could not by their star-skil foresee and foretel the Scotch Kings defeat at Worcester […]
    • 1830, William Hazlitt, Conversations of James Northcote, Esq., R.A., London: Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley, “Conversation the Fourth,” p. 51,
      Every thing of that sort appears to be at present no better than it is with us in a country-town: or rather it wants the simplicity and rustic innocence, and is more like the draggled-tailed finery of a lady’s waiting-maid.
    • 1840, Walt Whitman, letter to Abraham P. Leech dated 11 August, 1840, in Ted Genoways (ed.), Walt Whitman: The Correspondence, Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2004, Volume 7, p. 3,
      […] probably all the whig enthusiasm generated on that occasion was melted down again by this unlucky shower, for we passed loads of forlorn gentlemen, with draggle-tailed coats, crest-fallen hats, and sour-looking phizzes. — The mighty patriotism they felt was drowned by a tormenting slipperiness of coat, shirt, and pantaloons.
    • 1851, Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, London: G. Newbold, Volume 2, Book 2, p. 88,
      […] a cock and two or three draggle-tailed hens were composing themselves to roost on the front portion of the cart between the shafts.
    • 1942, William Faulkner, “Delta Autumn” in Go Down, Moses (book), New York: Random House, p. 360,
      “You sound like you have been to college even. You sound almost like a Northerner even, not like the draggle-tailed women of those Delta peckerwoods. […] ”
    • 2004, Andrea Levy, Small Island (novel), London: Review, Chapter Eighteen, p. 201,
      A year before my return Elwood had swapped his old truck for this draggle-tailed creature. He was pleased with the deal—a whole mule for a broken-down truck that had to be removed from the farm in several hundred rusting pieces.

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