From episode 1 of the television series The Walking Dead:

Context: Police chase a car with three criminals inside. A bunch of them some distance away place a spike strip across the road. The car runs over it, starts swerving, turns over a couple of times. The three dudes come out of the car and start shooting at the police officers. One of them takes a bullet but the vest he's wearing saves him.

— Rick!
— I'm all right!
— I saw you get tagged, man. That scared the hell out of me.
— Me too.

What does that expression really mean? Is this slang? Something to describe a situation when someone gets shot?

  • 5
    I don't agree with the close votes here. Just because something can be found in a dictionary doesn't mean it's easily found in a dictionary. Moreover, the dictionary definition provided below doesn't touch the O.P.'s question: "Is this something to describe a situation when someone gets shot?" (I wouldn't necessarily link that definition with gunfire. After all, the word wallop has the same meaning, and I don't know if I've ever heard anyone say, "walloped by a bullet.") There's more to this than a quick dictionary lookup; for example, a learner might be curious about how common this is.
    – J.R.
    Feb 11, 2015 at 10:31
  • 1
    Well, I've been looking in dictionaries and most likely might have seen the meaning user3169 suggested, but how am I to know if that was THE meaning? I also came across another dictionary entry that said "tag" meant "touch" someone being chased in a game of tag. And honestly I see a lot more correlation to the "game of tag" meaning than to "hit". Like a firefight is a game and when bullets touch you're out of the game. See what I mean? Feb 11, 2015 at 11:34
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    Yes, I see what you mean, but I'll also say this: if you take the time to look in dictionaries before you ask here, it's often worth sharing what you found in those dictionaries when you ask your question. Oftentimes, sharing such research will ward off negative votes (and maybe even garner more upvotes – notice how mousing over the upvote button reveals, "This question shows research effort.")
    – J.R.
    Feb 11, 2015 at 11:42
  • @CookieMonster - I'd argue that the quote implies both meanings. On the one hand, getting hit "gently" by a bullet to the chest seems pretty absurd. On the other hand, the image of being selected (to die) by being hit by a bullet certainly seems appropriate. "Tag, you're dead!" Feb 12, 2015 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


See tag sense 23:

23) (informal) to strike or hit hard

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