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Theatre selectors, pages, etc.
The etymology of drag as in drag queen
By Curt_Anderson
February 12, 2023 2:03 pm
Category: Theatre

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According to Wikipedia, the use of "drag" in this sense appeared in print as early as 1870 but its origin is uncertain. One suggested etymological root is 19th-century theatre slang, from the sensation of long skirts trailing on the floor. It may have been based on the term "grand rag" which was historically used for a masquerade ball.

According to Curt Anderson's theory there is a different and historically deeper linguistic explanation.

The German verb for wear (as in to wear clothes) is tragen. The storyteller brother Jacob in his Grimm's Law of consonant and vowel shifts noted that there is a consistency of words changing from one language to another including German to English. For example, the German kalt becomes the English cold.

Likewise, it's possible that the T in tragen changed to the D in drag. In Shakespeare's time women were not allowed on stage. Men played both male and female roles. Drag may have meant to wear a costume regardless of gender but the meaning changed over time to refer to male performers wearing women's clothes specifically.


Cited and related links:

  1. en.wikipedia.org

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Comments on "The etymology of drag as in drag queen":

  1. by Ponderer on February 12, 2023 2:12 pm

    Curt, there's some who contend that in Elizabethan times, the term was a theater term or acronym for DRessed As a Girl. This may be apocryphal though.


  2. by Curt_Anderson on February 12, 2023 2:17 pm
    Maybe. But I am disinclined to accept acronymical explanations of word origins. Anyway, why wouldn't it be dag and dag queen?


  3. by Ponderer on February 12, 2023 2:31 pm

    Perhaps because we wouldn't want to know what "dag" meant in colloquial Elizabethan times.

    Anyway, "drag" is more dramatic and sounds like the kinda thing theater folk would come up with.


  4. by oldedude on February 12, 2023 7:43 pm
    I find it funny the earlier thread has cum to this. I guess it's just that some people don't know when to let go.

    You both. It's NOT in your span of control. You spend a lot of time doing sht you can't change. Get a life.


  5. by Ponderer on February 13, 2023 7:48 am

    "I find it funny the earlier thread has cum to this." -olde dude

    An earlier thread brought you to orgasm...?


  6. by Donna on February 13, 2023 8:21 am

    Women do drag too.


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