I thought that Webster
's definition of this multifaceted verb/noun could do with a 21st century
update, so I done me some research!
The use of the word 'shag' as a means to express sexual coupling has been brought into the international arena through the Austin Powers movies having previously been reserved for use by Brits, American anglophiles and all lovers of British low comedy.
This use of the word has been accused of being infantile and crude by the moral majority. However, the truly highbrow among us will know that it has been used frequently in the works of such a luminary as Kingsley Amis.
The common dictionary definitions of the word 'shag' include; 'a rough surface', 'a fabric with a nap', 'a hopping dance step' or 'a finely cut tobacco' - but these uses appear to have been usurped by Power's favoured definition.
The word shag appears in Old English as 'sceacga', meaning 'hair' leading eventually to all those rough materials.
The origins of the word elsewhere can be traced back to interpretations from the bible. It began life as a variant of 'shake'. When Jesus walks on water, in our bible, he does so to reach the disciples' boat 'tossed on the waves, however in Wycliffes version c.1380 the boat is 'shoggid with waves'. This shaking probably led to the naming of the American hopping dance of the same name popular in the 1930's but was used to describe the physical act of love way earlier.
It in fact appears in Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue in 1788 - defined as 'to copulate'
Shagadelic Baby - Yeeeeeaaaahh!