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Thread: to wag

  1. #1
    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    to wag

    hi,
    what does "to wag a head" mean, please? is it the same as saying "no" with your head?
    i have only seen this verb being used with nouns like "fingers" and "tails".
    I'd like to know how else i can use it.
    thanks.

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    Re: to wag

    As a Brit, but not a teacher:

    I found this reference to wagging the head in Webster's:

    wag - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
    transitive verb
    1: to swing to and fro or up and down especially with quick jerky motions
    : switch <a dog wagging its tail>; specifically
    : to nod (the head) or shake (a finger) at (as in assent or mild reproof)

    Personally, I would never normally use it in the "head" context.

    Hope this helps.

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    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Re: to wag

    Attention: I’m not a teacher.

    Hi jtgf,

    I found the following meaning of the verb in question:

    wag (v) = to move (a body part) rapidly from side to side or up and down, as in playfulness, agreement, admonition, or chatter.

    There is a brief excerpt of a funny story:

    ….I decided not to cause an accident and continued accelerating. to which the woman, pissed that i didn’t let her get over, started screaming and shaking her head in the “oh no she di’int” kind of way.
    I told to her: “Don’t wag your head at me

    There are two verses of two different versions of the Bible:

    Webster's Bible Translation
    To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and wag his head.


    Jewish Publication Society Tanakh
    To make their land an astonishment, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and shake his head.

    Regards.

    V.

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    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Re: to wag

    thank you a lot.
    using this verb in combination with "head" doesn't seem to be very common, right?
    as a foreigner, and in order to avoid troubled waters, should I restrain its use to "finger" and "tail"?
    thanks again.

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    Re: to wag

    Yes. It's much safer.

    PS Vil: Very interested to hear your religious connotations - where did you go to locate them?

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    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Re: to wag

    Attention: I'm not a teacher.

    Hi jctgf,

    There are further examples concerning the matter in question.

    I would prefer to pin my faith on my eyes and common sense than to my ears and emotion.

    Certainly the opinion of a NES is more authoratative than one of me.

    wag (v)
    to move one way and the other with quick turns; to shake to and fro; to move vibratingly; to cause to vibrate, as a part of the body; as, to wag the head.

    No discerner durst wag his tongue in censure. Shak.
    Every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head. Jer. xviii. 16.
    Wag expresses specifically the motion of the head and body used in buffoonery, mirth, derision, sport, and mockery.

    Hold your hands in front of your face at different distances and stick each thumb up. Wag your head from side to side and watch how the nearer thumb moves to the right as you move your head to the left. If your two thumbs are at the same distance, just side by side, they stay together as you wag your head. Now try that when you are doing a different job with each eye, one eye looking at the lamp, the other looking through the telescope at the image.

    And Lord, if you wag your head on us you know the very second of our death. Father, if you wag your head on this unborn child, how can we watch it ...

    They hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem: 'Is this the city that men called The perfection of beauty, 'The joy of the whole earth?' ...

    Is he starting to wag his head yes and no? Is he pointing to objects and babbling about it? Does he repond to his name? Does he look for the person when you ...

    I tried to wag my head loose from his grip, but his large hands held firm.
    He doesn't wag his head around like he used to, and he hasn't tried crowding me, all since you talked to him." "Since our talk about Momma Bear, ...

    But to aim at your target, you have to use your head. That is, you literally wag your head around until the crosshairs line up with your target. ...

    The marching bear is a cute plushable friend that will march, beat his drum, spin in circles, and wag his head.

    Why wag your head with turban bound, yellow, red and green? Are the things so strange and marvelous you see or have seen? ...

    Locals 'wag' their head in a wonderfully subtle way when they agree, BUT....they have a similar 'wag' when they are not satisfied, so careful attention must ...

    Regards.

    V.

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    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: to wag

    Here, to say no, you shake your head and to say yes, you nod your head

    In India, there is a motion of the head which is more of a wag than a shake.

    But yes, in general keep wag for tails and fingers as well as flags.

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    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Re: to wag

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Here, to say no, you shake your head and to say yes, you nod your head

    In India, there is a motion of the head which is more of a wag than a shake.

    But yes, in general keep wag for tails and fingers as well as flags.

    Hi,
    Thanks!
    Good you have mentioned "flag" because it's an old doubt that I have.
    I didn't find any entry on BMC and very few on Google for "wag" referring to "flag".
    Could it be that it is correct but not used very often? If so, what would be the popular expression for it?
    Thanks again!

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    Re: to wag

    Hi.

    The norm that I would use is to "waive the flag".
    You could also "fly the flag" on a building or on the front of a diplomatic car.
    You could also "fly the flag at half mast" i.e. half-way up the flagpole, as a mark of respect for someone important who had just died.

    In the UK there are strict government rules as to when you can fly the country's Union Jack flag from buildings.

    Back to wags. There is a comparatively new term that has crept into the English language - WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends - particularly those of famous footballers).

    Hope this helps

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    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Re: to wag

    hi,
    do you mean "wave the flag"?
    thanks.

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