Tag Along: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
August 2, 2023

The phrase "tag along" means to follow along after someone, to go along with someone. It usually implies that the person who tags along is not invited or expected by the leading group or person. It can also suggest that the person who tags along is not very important or influential in the situation.

In short:

  • The phrase “tag along” means to follow along after someone, to go along with someone.
  • It can have a positive or negative connotation depending on the context and tone of voice.
  • It is a common and informal idiom that can be used in various situations.

What Does "Tag Along" Mean?

To "tag along" means to join without being asked or wanted. It often indicates that the tag-along is not welcome or valued by the main person or group. It can also imply that the tag-along has little or no influence or significance in the situation.

For example, if you say you will "tag along" your friends to the movies, you will join them even though they did not ask you to come. It could imply that you are bored or lonely and want some company. It could also mean that you are curious about what they are doing.

Where Does "Tag Along" Come From?

The origin of the idiom "tag along" is unclear, but it seems to be related to the word "tag," which has several meanings and uses in English. According to some sources, the word "tag" was first used as a noun in the 15th century and as a verb in the late 17th century. The verb meaning "to follow closely" dates back to 1884. The phrase "tag along" was first recorded in 1900.

Historical Example

"He was always tagging along after me like a dog."

- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, 1876

10 Examples of "Tag Along" in Sentences

Here are some examples of how to use the idiom "tag along" in different sentences:

  • Do you mind if I tag along with you to the mall? I'm bored surfing the net all day long.
  • She always tags along with her older sister wherever she goes. They are a dynamic duo.
  • About last night, he tagged along with his friends to the party and got drunk.
  • They invited me to join them for dinner, but I didn't want to tag along and spoil their date night.
  • Yes, please. You can tag along with us, but you should bring your car.
  • For God's sake. He's such a tag-along friend. He never has any plans of his own.
  • He let her tag along behind him as they walked through the crowd. I guess chivalry isn't dead yet.
  • He felt like a tag-along in their group. He didn't belong there. They never mind him at all.
  • She didn't want to tag along with them, but she had no choice. That's why she gave it a go.
  • He tagged along after her day in and day out, hoping she would notice him. But he failed miserably.

Examples of "Tag Along" in Pop Culture

Here are some examples of the idiom "tag along" in various forms of popular culture:

  • Gwen Stefani has a song called "Tag Along."
  • In the TV show Friends, Rachel mentions the phrase "tag along" to Monica in one of its episodes.
  • The idiom was also mentioned in the book Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling.

Other Ways to Say "Tag Along"

There are other ways to say or express the same or similar idea as "tag along."

Some of them are:

  • To trail behind someone
  • To follow someone around
  • To hang around someone
  • To stick with someone
  • To go with someone
  • To join someone
  • To come along with someone
  • To accompany someone

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Tag Along"

Here are some common questions and answers about the idiom "tag along":

  • What does "tag along" mean?

To "tag along" means to join without being asked or wanted. It often indicates that the tag-along is not welcome or valued by the main person or group.

  • What is the origin of "tag along"?

The origin of the idiom "tag along" is unclear, but it seems to be related to the word "tag," which has several meanings and uses in English.

  • What are some synonyms for "tag-along" as a noun?

Some synonyms are: hanger-on, follower, parasite, leech, sycophant.

  • What are some antonyms for "tag-along" as a noun?

Some antonyms are: leader, initiator, host, organizer, independent.

  • Is "tag along" one word or two words?

It depends on how you use it. As a verb phrase, it is two words: tag along. As a noun or an adjective, it can be hyphenated: tag-along.

  • Is "tag along" formal or informal?

It is informal. It is not appropriate for formal or academic writing or speech.

  • Is "tag along" positive or negative?

It can be either positive or negative depending on the context and tone of voice. It can imply curiosity, interest, friendship, or companionship. It can also imply boredom, loneliness, annoyance, or intrusion.

  • What is the difference between "tag along" and bring along?

"Tag along" means to follow someone without being invited or expected. Bring along means to take someone with you with their consent or request.

  • How do you politely ask someone to "tag along"?

You can use phrases like: "Do you mind if I tag along?", "Can I tag along with you?", "Is it okay if I tag along?", "Would you mind if I tag along?"

  • How do you politely tell someone not to "tag along"?

You can use phrases like: I’m sorry, but this is a private matter. I’d rather go alone. This is not a good time for me. Please don’t "tag along."

Final Thoughts About "Tag Along"

"Tag along" is a common and informal idiom that means to follow along after someone, to go along with someone.

  • It can have a positive or negative connotation depending on the context and tone of voice.
  • It is related to the word "tag," which has several meanings and uses in English.
  • It first appeared in print in 1900 and has been used in various forms of popular culture since then.
  • Different variations and related expressions can be used as verbs, nouns, or adjectives.
  • It can be expressed in different ways using synonyms or antonyms.
  • It can be used in different types of sentences and questions.

We hope this article has helped you understand the meaning, origin, examples, and significance of the idiom "tag along" Now you can use it confidently and correctly in conversations. Happy tagging!

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Copyright © 2024 - U.S. Dictionary
Privacy Policy
magnifier