• noun a fielder, especially one who is not a full member of a team but whose function is simply to retrieve balls in the deep field
    Citation ‘On a fine day the long row of nets is fully occupied, and the “fags” in the out-field have their hands full indeed’ (Ranjitsinhji 1897)
  • verb to act as a fag; field
    Citation ‘Winchester boys were never allowed to touch a bat till they had been two years in the school, their whole time in play-hours being devoted to compulsory fagging out’ (F. Gale, The Game of Cricket 1887)


  • noun a cigarette. In Middle English fagge meant, as a verb, to droop or, as a noun, a flap or remnant. These notions gave rise to ‘fag-end’ and subsequently, in the 19th century, to fag as a stubbed-out or limp, low-quality cigarette. In the 20th century the word was generalised to refer to any cigarette.
  • noun a male homosexual. This is generally taken to be a shortened version of faggot, but may pre-date it. (There is no discernible connection with the British public-school term meaning a junior boy performing servant duties.).