Often used in C in conjunction with unions to give a sort of brain-damaged polymorphism. The `type' member of an XEvent is a tag. Usually tags are used in a switch to select the correct behaviour. Forgetting the break can cause fatal errors.

In graffiti, a tag is a quickly scrawled name. It's considered the equivalent of noding for numbers, since you can tag a thousand walls without any talent at all. Many good graffiti artists started by tagging, but then they progressed to simple one-color throw-ups, learned wildstyle, and began having pride in the quality, rather than the quantity, of their graffiti.

The German word for 'day'. It is also used as a greeting by abbreviating 'Guten Tag' (== good day) to just 'Tag'.
We do the same thing in England by abbreviating 'Good Morning' to 'Morning'.

In SGML and XML-based markup languages, a "tag" is a marker for beginning and end of an element.

A tag is a word, closed in angle brackets, like this: <tag>. There are two basic kinds of tags, start tags and end tags. Start tags are, as shown before, just word in brackets; End tags are just the same but also have slash as the first character: </tag>. Example of tagged text: <tag>Some text!</tag>

In SGML, end tags are sometimes not required at all, and end tags can be substituted with so-called short closing tag </>. For example: <tag>Some text!</>

(Note that most HTML parsers hate that!)

In XML, end tags are always required - except in case of end-tag-less, self-closing elements. Example of such: <tag />.

In addition to just being there, tags (AFAIK just start tags, of course) can have attributes. Example: <tag attribute="value">. In SGML, attribute values (depending on type) can sometimes be left unquoted; XML requires quotes.

What goes inside tags is an entirely different matter, defined in the <!element> declarations in DTD - and that, friends, is a story best left told another time...


Short for Target Aquisition Gear.

'Tag', 'Tig' or 'It' (it probably has other names too) probably wasn't invented as part of the New Games' Movement in the sixties; it's clearly a game that's been around for ages. Having said that, though, it does conform to the standards of the Movement. 'Tag' involves one player being 'it' and chasing everyone else playing. If he/she catches someone, then that someone is 'it' instead and must chase and catch someone. There is often a safe place, called 'goo'; a player in this way is safe from being 'got'.

All simple enough. The number of variants of this, though, is huge:

  • Freeze tag: once got, a player can't move until unfrozen by another non-'it' player
  • TV Tag: Instead of going to 'goo', players protect themselves by sitting down and yelling the name of a television programme.
  • Stick-in-the-Mud: once a player is 'got' they must stand with their legs apart until a non-'it' player unsticks them by crawling through their legs (this is hard on the knees). Alternatively, players can touch their toes until unstuck by someone leap-frogging over them.
  • Chain Tag: Players link arms in chains of three around the room, except for 'it' and one other player (any extras join to make occasional 'fours'). 'It' chases the one unjoined person until he/she links onto one of the chains of three. The person on the other end of the chain must run and be chased by 'it', and cannot join back onto the chain he/she has just left. (This is easier to play than to explain!)
  • Off-Ground Tag: Anyone not on the floor of the room is automatically safe.

There are bound to be many others - if you've got any, message me and I'll add them...

Ah, the memories. Since I attended a fairly typical English, country, primary school, I learned this game young, and played it at least weekly, often daily for seven years. Occasionally up to one hundred children would play at once, sometimes as few as two. It was always exhilarating, always slightly dangerous, and always fun. But we grew out of it.

I hadn’t played it for years, but yesterday a few friends and I were bored. We were sitting on the common, discussing what to do until The Club opened. Someone suggested a game of tag. It seemed silly, but we went for it. We all put our foot in, as was the ritual at our primary school, and recited the ancient rhyme of Eenie Meenie Minie Mo to decide who was to be “on” (it was me) and began. We played a classic game for nearly three hours, it was exhilarating, picking a target, chasing, then spotting another who has become vulnerable and launching at them, running away mere inches from someone’s grappling hand, doubling back, confusing them, scraping your knee for the first time in years, getting up, laughing, lunging at the person who just tagged you. I’d recommend it to anyone as an early start to an evening.

However, at primary school there was more to it. Over the years at least ten versions either developed or were introduced, or were taught to us by the older children. I have attempted to list these below. (One game is the time until you need to choose who is on again.)

Versions of Tag

Classic Tag

Number of players: 2+
Aggression Rating: Medium
Length of Game: Potentially for ever
Complexity: Minimum
Can you play it drunk?: Yes! Yes! Dear God Yes!

How it’s played: Select a person to be on. Use any method you like, the method I prefer is everyone “puts their foot in” which means everyone extends one leg so that everyone’s shoes are touching, then a person taps each foot in turn, one per syllable of a chant. Usually eenie meenie miny mo, but there are others. The person who is landed on last is on. The person who is on then counts to ten and runs after the other players. The aim of the person who is on, it to touch one of the people running away and yell “tag.” When this occurs the tagged becomes on. Repeat until everyone collapses with exhaustion.

Tactics: When you are on, run after the nearest person, but stay to one side of them, hold your arm outstretched, this makes it easier to tag them.. If they are running at full speed, they will soon slow down, and you can get them with a quick swipe. If not, soon you will pass near another player, break off suddenly and lunge at them, if you judge it correctly they will be off guard and you will tag them. When you are not on, run away from the person who is on. If they are slower than you, run at top speed, then slow down to their speed, they will tire of you quickly. If they are faster than you, run towards other players, dodge around them and hope that they do not stick to you.

Base Tag

Number of players: 2+
Aggression Rating: Medium
Length of Game: Potentially for ever
Complexity: Low
Can you play it drunk? Provided you can stay upright and discern objects from eachother.

How it’s played: Exactly the same as Classic Tag, except certain areas of the play area (anything from a town in a country wide game (not advised except for trainee marathon runners), to a manhole in the playground) are designated as bases. These are areas in which you cannot be tagged. However, you are only allowed in these bases for a certain amount of time, generally ten seconds.

Tactics: If you are on, generally you are not allowed to guard the base, but if you are, do so. If not, you will only have limited time to chase people, so you must always sprint. Try to overtake people and cut them off. They will be heading for bases so use that to your advantage, run from the direction of a base and meet them head on. If you are not on, do not leave a base when someone else arrives, odds are the person who is on is in pursuit. Instead wait until they are as far away as possible before leaving the base. Run for half the time limit, then run back using the same tactics as above. Remember you do not need to stay on the base for the maximum time.

Multi Tag

Number of players: 3+
Aggression Rating: High
Length of Game: Generally about one minute per person playing,
Complexity: Medium
Can you play it drunk?: Probably

How it’s played: The same as Classic or Base, except that the person who is on, remains on when they tag someone. The tagged also becomes on. The game ends when everyone has been tagged.

Tactics: If you are on, early in the game basic tactics apply, later, when more people are on your side, work together, head people off, target individuals all at once, ring bases, don’t forget, if you tag someone within a group, they can tag people around them. If you are not on, try to stay away from groups and targeted individuals. When you are the last person left, dodge and weave for as long as possible. Try to stay arm’s length away from anyone else.

Wall Tag

Number of players: 2+
Aggression Rating: Medium
Length of Game: Potentially for ever
Complexity: Low
Can you play it drunk? Yes, definitely, just throw yourself across the pitch and try not to fall over before you reach the other side.

How it’s played: Two opposing walls are selected. They do not have to be walls, they can be bases, or natural objects, or shirts/bags/coats on the ground. Players run between the two walls while the person who is on stays in the middle. Players can run whenever they like, but a time limit is usually imposed.

Tactics: When you are on, stay in the middle, watch players, try to guess when someone is about to run and move in their direction. Do not try to run at them, they will dodge, instead, try to cut them off by running across their path. When you are not on, feign. Pretend to leave the wall, but don’t this enables others to, this distracts the person who is on and you can leave. When running, feign one way, then run another, run backwards, loop around, but make sure you get to the other side. If possible try to leave the wall in groups to provide many moving targets. If all else fails, push someone else off the wall and run behind them.

Chain Tag (another version is described above

Number of players: 5+ to be effective, but could potentially be played with 3 or 4 but would be kind of boring
Aggression Rating: Medium
Length of Game: Between five minutes and forever
Complexity: Low
Can you play it drunk? Yes, but it probably won’t end, or someone will lose an eye, or something.

How it’s played: As with classic, select who’s on, then, as with wall tag, select two bases, these must be a fairly significant distance apart, at primary school, they were around fifty metres apart, sometimes more like one hundred. Everyone begins on one base, and, one at a time attempt to run to the other. They then try to from a human chain from the base. When you touch the chain, you are on the base, there is no time limit. The person who is on must try to tag the runner before they reach the chain or base, it gets harder for them as the game continues due to the shorter distance. The game ends when the chain is complete.

Tactics: If you are on, back up as far as possible and run towards your prey, it is easier to run towards someone than to chase, speed is not required either, in fact a lack of it might help. When you are close enough, spread your arms and make yourself as big as possible, if they get past you, pursue them and try to overtake and get between them and the chain. If you are not on, you will need to get past the person who is on, it is much easier to win if you are being chased, rather than running towards a predator. To get past them, try to dodge them, remember if you dodge twice, quickly, (within half a second) they will still be compensating for your last dodge when you make your second.

Stuck in the Mud

Number of players: 3+ but more is preferable, works best with 10+ Aggression Rating: Medium
Length of Game: Around one minute per person playing
Complexity: Medium
Can you play it drunk? Yes, but personal injury and sexual harassment lawsuits may result.

How it’s played: The same as Classic Tag, except, when someone is tagged, they must stand with their legs spread and arms out. They can only be released by someone crawling through their legs (or under their arms, optional rule in case of skirts). They can be tagged whilst crawling, which means neither can be released until the end of the game. Game ends when everyone is stuck in the mud.

Tactics: If you are on, try to get people when they are between someone else’s legs. This eliminates them from the game. Move fast, try to tag a lot of people in a short space of time. If you are not on, try to pair with someone, release them every time if they release you. Only release people if the person who is on is a significant distance away.

Rugby Tag

Number of players: 2+ Aggression Rating: Highest
Length of Game: Potentially forever
Complexity: So incredibly simple
Can you play it drunk? Yes, but it will result in a fight.

How it’s played: Same as Classic Tag, but instead of tagging, you rugby tackle.

Tactics: If you are on, try not to tackle head on, although possible, you are more likely to get landed on. Instead just chase and dive, it doesn’t really matter, it’s fun. If you are not on, try not to injure the person who is on. Try to avoid dives by sidestepping just as the go for it. Try to avoid reflex ball throwing movements since they will put you off.

Sit Down Tag

Number of players: 3+ Aggression Rating: low
Length of Game: potentially forever
Complexity: Medium
Can you play it drunk? Yes, but if you are too drunk you might not get up.

How it’s played: Same as classic tag, except you can create a base anywhere for ten seconds by sitting down and saying a word from a predetermined topic, for instance a TV show, or a make of car, or a type of bird, or a sexual position. You are not allowed to repeat words, (which is interesting because you find out how many sexual positions people know), and if you do, either you are instantly on, or you can be tagged until you think of a new one.


Number of players: 3+ but should be played with more Aggression Rating: higher
Length of Game: potentially forever
Complexity: Medium
Can you play it drunk? Yes, but it becomes a fight quickly.

How it’s played: Select a certain number of bases, at least one less than the number of players who are not on. Everyone, bar x people go to a base, anyone can go on a base, by running up to it and shouting “budge” this forces the person on the base to move to another base. When they are not on a base they can be tagged.

Tactics: If you are on, place yourself between the two most popular bases, spread your arms and run towards your quarry. If they get past you keep running past the base and try to get the next person as they leave it. If you are not on, break the pattern, if everyone is running to the same base, run to a different one, do not run towards the person who is on, when someone is running towards your base, get ready to run as soon as they say budge, or run pre-emptively, this gives you most chance of survival.

Optional Rules

These rules can be added to any of the above games to make them more interesting. Some of them, such as Crusoes, may be standard, and so they must specifically be outlawed.


Yelling “Crusoes” grants you immunity for a short period of time. Usually it is only invoked to tie a shoelace, or nurse an injury, but it can be used to escape the person who is on. “Pax” has the same effect.


Whether or not you add these safe havens to a game is completely up to you. You can set time limits, and maximum populations to further confuse things, multiple small bases can be interesting.

Goose Guarding

This can be a cardinal sin. This refers to the person who is on guarding a base in order to tag anyone leaving the base instantly. Usually this is not allowed and so if the person who is on is caught doing it a cry of “Oi! No goose guarding!” is heard.


In this, each person who is not on must be constantly holding hands, tied to, or have their arms around another person. This makes them move more slowly, but can be amusing as they try to dodge the person who is on, by moving in different directions.

Tag Back

This refers to the ability of the person who is on to tag the person who has just tagged them. No tag back means that they cannot to so, and so, as long as they are on, that person has immunity. Often a time limit is imposed to give them time to get away, five seconds is usually enough, sometimes ten seconds.

Kiss Tag

Instead of tagging, the person who must on, must kiss another person. This was banned at my primary school for some reason.

wertperch says re tag : We used to play a game called "Hot Rice" at prep school. This involved hurling a tennis ball to "tig" someone, who then joined you, to become "it". The last one tagged was then it. Painful, but great fun. Can't say what it was like to play when drunk though :S

Velox says re tag: In the US, the person who's "on" is called "it", and "stuck in the mud" is (or was) called "freeze tag." Otherwise, these are exactly the games I played as a little kid in Washington state. Fun memories! Thanks for the nifty writeup.

In online gaming, a tag is a short sequence of letters, numbers, and/or odd ASCII characters added to a player's name. It usually represents membership in a guild, clan, or group but it sometimes it is used to indicate other things.

Many online games do not provide a mechanism to indicate membership, so in these cases the player adds the tag as an actual part of his/her screen name. Most Roleplayers frown on this, however, because it makes for some ugly, nonsensical names. Also, if the group the player belongs to is dissolved, he/she may be stuck with the tag in the name.

Here are some examples of tags in names:

  • {BR}jackthewanderer
  • Louis(MAC)
  • AdventureBill_CIA
  • jAsOnX_*+34m*_

For those of you who are considering adding a tag to your screen name, please reconsider. If you must do it, please do not use l33t sp34k. That just makes it a pain to read.

Tag (?), n. [Probably akin to tack a small nail; cf. Sw. tagg a prickle, point, tooth.]


Any slight appendage, as to an article of dress; something slight hanging loosely; specifically, a direction card, or label.


A metallic binding, tube, or point, at the end of a string, or lace, to stiffen it.


The end, or catchword, of an actor's speech; cue.


Something mean and paltry; the rabble.


Tag and rag, the lowest sort; the rabble. Holinshed.


A sheep of the first year.

[Prov. Eng.]


<-- Tag sale. [From the price tag usually attached to each item]

A sale of usually used items (such as furniture, clothing, household items or bric-a-brac), conducted by one or a small group of individuals, at a location which is not a normal retail establishment.

Frequently it is held in the private home or in a yard attached to a private home belonging to the seller. Similar to a yard sale or garage sale. Compare flea market, where used items are sold by many individuals in a place rented for the purpose. -->


© Webster 1913.

Tag, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Tagged (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Tagging (?).]


To fit with, or as with, a tag or tags.

He learned to make long-tagged thread laces. Macaulay.

His courteous host . . . Tags every sentence with some fawning word. Dryden.


To join; to fasten; to attach.



To follow closely after; esp., to follow and touch in the game of tag. See Tag, a play.


© Webster 1913.

Tag, v. i.

To follow closely, as it were an appendage; -- often with after; as, to tag after a person.


© Webster 1913.

Tag, n. [From Tag, v.; cf. Tag, an end.]

A child's play in which one runs after and touches another, and then runs away to avoid being touched.


© Webster 1913.

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