Definition 2023


glad rags



glad rags pl (plural only)

  1. (slang) Formal attire, dress clothes.
    • 1896, Henry M. Blossom, Jr., Checkers: A Hard-luck Story, Grosset & Dunlap, page 39,
      “But say, you wouldn’t have known me if you’d seen me here with my wife that time—my glad rags on, a stove-pipe lid, patent leather kicks and a stone on my front. […]
    • 1897 April, W. H. Carruth and Paul Wilkinson, "Dialect Word-List.—No. 4", in Kansas University Quarterly, Series B:—Philology and History, Volume VI, Number 2, University of Kansas, page 88,
      glad rags: “Sunday-go-to-meeting” clothes.—General.
    • 1920, Helen Reimensnyder Martin, The Schoolmaster of Hessville, Doubleday, page 285,
      “[…] Or she’ll say, ‘Well, I must go now and put on my glad rags.’ Glad rags yet, John! Yes, that’s what she calls her best frock! Ain’t it funny? […]”
    • 1935, Graham Greene, England Made Me, Penguin Classics (1992), ISBN 0140185518, page 83
      ‘I bet you are busy,’ he said. He paused at the door: ‘I shall need some money for glad rags.’ ¶ ‘Glad rags?’ ¶ ‘White tie and the rest of it.’
    • 2007, Brett Atkinson, Central Europe, Lonely Planet Publications, ISBN 1741043018, page 143,
      Brno has an excellent theater and classical music, and you’re expected to put your glad rags on.
  2. (slang) Stylish clothing.
    • 1969, Iceberg Slim, Mama Black Widow: A Story of the South’s Black Underworld, Holloway House Publishing (2004), ISBN 0-87067-931-7, page 183,
      Lock Jaw said, “Bessie, how would you like to get dressed up in a grand worth of glad rags and go to a fancy blowout with me?”
    • 2002, Judith Clarke, Wolf on the Fold, Front Street, ISBN 1886910790, pages 41–42,
      ‘She might forget,’ said Clightie. ‘You know how she does. While she's in there putting her glad rags on; she might come out, all dressed up, and not remember what she’s dressed up for.’
    • 2007, Anthony Ham and Alison Bing, Morocco, Lonely Planet Publications, ISBN 1740599748, page 85,
      Put on your glad rags and git down with the in-crowd at Casablanca’s hip Boulevard de la Corniche (p101)


  • 1959, Shelagh Delaney, A Taste of Honey, Grove Press, ISBN 0802131859, page 30,
    Helen: Help yourself to a drink, Peter, and I'll go and put my glad rags on. [Exit.]