Definition of bag in English:

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Pronunciation: /baɡ/


1A container made of flexible material with an opening at the top, used for carrying things: brown paper bags a shopping bag
More example sentences
  • I was carrying a shopping bag from a high street clothes shop.
  • He was carrying two bags containing a total of £40,000.
  • A neighbour said he had reported one of the detained men after seeing him carrying a bag containing letters.
1.1An amount held by a bag: a bag of apples
More example sentences
  • They just wanted me to donate, monthly, the equivalent amount to half a bag of tea-bags.
  • There were 3 possible destinations: over her trainers, into her popcorn container or into my bag of chocolate brazils.
  • He said one method used to gauge a child's awareness of drug abuse is to ask them to draw the contents of ‘a bag of drugs’ found in the street.
1.2A woman’s handbag or purse.
Example sentences
  • Like any well-organized woman, Kim has her purses divided into day bags and evening bags.
  • In her new spring collection, which ranged from large tote bags to delicately embroidered evening bags, there was something for every occasion.
  • You know, I've never counted, but I might have a hundred and fifty bags / handbags in my wardrobe.
handbag, purse, shoulder bag, clutch bag/purse, minaudière;
sack, pouch
informal manbag
historical reticule
1.3A piece of luggage: she began to unpack her bags
More example sentences
  • She turned around, picked up her bag, the only piece of luggage she had.
  • How about buying a piece of luggage that consolidates your bags into a single carry-on that complies with all the rules and your needs?
  • When I pull my luggage (a bag and a laptop) on to the taxi, the driver asked where I were going.
suitcase, case, valise, portmanteau, grip, overnighter;
backpack, rucksack, knapsack, haversack, carryall, kit bag, duffel bag;
(bags) luggage, baggage
1.4 Baseball A base.
Example sentences
  • He takes a few steps past the bag and the right fielder throws the ball to the shortstop at the bag.
  • Because of his proximity to the base, the first baseman will tag the bag first before throwing to second.
  • The moment Ugeto reached second base safely and left the bag, he was open game to be put out.
1.5 (bags) informal, chiefly British Plenty of something: I had bags of energy
More example sentences
  • Only a single score down and bags of attrition time still left to play.
  • There is bags of power from way down the rev range and loads of poke in the middle where it is needed for safe overtaking.
  • I imagined that at the end I'd have bags of information, anecdotes and observations.
2The amount of game shot by a hunter.
Example sentences
  • Looking at photos of other teal hunters' bags, most seem to hold a high percentage of adult male bluewings.
  • It's fairly unlikely that the council will recommend further cuts in the scaup bag limit for the coming season.
  • The federal framework also modified the daily bag limit for the four-day season in the SWDA.
3 (usually bags) A loose fold of skin under a person’s eye: the bags under his eyes gave him a sad appearance
More example sentences
  • He looked tired and worn out, with pale skin and purple bags under his eyes.
  • She was aware of her pasty skin, of the bags under her eyes, and of the drawn look on her face without his comments.
  • Mercia was watching her parent's faces; sallow skin, dark bags under their lifeless eyes.
4 informal, derogatory A woman, especially an older one, perceived as unpleasant, bad-tempered, or unattractive: an interfering old bag
More example sentences
  • Perhaps it makes me seem like an old bag, but it does feel intimidating to face a gang of people, of whatever age, with intimidating body language.
  • On the news this morning, the old bag was saying that the visitor figures for the fountain had far exceeded their predictions.
  • He loathed the old bag more than Liz ever did, despite sharing the same political views.
5 (one's bag) informal One’s particular interest or taste: if religion and politics are your bag, you’ll find something to interest you here
More example sentences
  • Not that there's anything wrong with that - but not my bag.
  • I tried a course in b/w photography, but realised it was not my bag either.
  • Ostensibly, a Chinwag meeting about PR Online is simply not my bag, but an interface appears to be forming (think Star Trek) between PR and Blogging.
interest, preoccupation, concern
informal thing

verb (bags, bagging, bagged)

[with object]
1Put (something) in a bag: customers bagged their own groceries we bagged up the apples
More example sentences
  • Under protocols to protect against asbestos contamination, fire personnel and equipment had to be hosed down, while their kit was bagged up and sent for specialist cleaning.
  • So, the computer's got to be moved onto a small coffee table temporarily, and my clothes are either bagged up or hung in various locations at random!
  • After that, they were bagged up for shipping and stored in the freezer until a truck came to get them.
2(Of a hunter) succeed in killing or catching an animal: in 1979, handgun hunters bagged 677 deer
More example sentences
  • The free event is open to hunters bagging white-tailed deer, mule deer, or antelope in Texas during the past year.
  • Wealthy Britons pay tens of thousands to bag a lion, elephant or polar bear in trophy hunts that recreate images of a bygone colonial era
  • She bagged a deer on her very first shoot, but found it more difficult when asked to go stalking alone.
catch, land, capture, trap, snare, ensnare;
kill, shoot
2.1Succeed in securing (something): we’ve bagged three awards for excellence
More example sentences
  • From RAMP shows and TV compering to bagging the best actress award in the small screen category for 2001, Jyothirmayee has come a long way.
  • Samyuktha Varma bagged the best actress award for her role in another film exploring post-marital affairs, ‘Megha Malhar’.
  • In the South Lakeland District Council award section, Sedbergh bagged the towns and villages trophy while Rydal Mount, Rydal, took the tourism trophy.
get, secure, obtain, acquire, pick up;
win, achieve, attain;
commandeer, grab, appropriate, take
informal get one's hands on, land, net
3 [no object] (Of clothes, especially pants) hang loosely or lose shape: these trousers never bag at the knee
More example sentences
  • The cloak he wore bagged over his body, making his frail stature appear sturdier.
  • Her jeans, partially soaked from splashing onto the street, now seemed almost like they were made for her, because as she moved they moved too, not bagging at the knees.
  • I feel there is nothing wrong with bagging pants as long as your actual underwear and behind is not showing.
3.1Swell or bulge.
4North American informal Quit; give up on: it was a drag to be in the ninth grade at 17, so he bagged it
More example sentences
  • Let's bag it before this gets ugly.
  • About twenty years ago, the Connection Machine was supposed to be the big new paradigm, but before long they bagged it.
  • We spent about an hour there, snapping Zoe action photos and playing, but it was a little too windy and nippy for us, so we bagged it and headed home.
5North American informal Fit (a patient) with an oxygen mask or other respiratory aid.
Example sentences
  • They also maintained airway management and continued to bag him.
  • In the ambulance, the EMTs took the decedent's vital signs, continued to bag him with high-flow oxygen, monitored his heart, and gave him CPR.
  • Bag him at a rate of 30. Check for breath sounds bilaterally.



bag and baggage

With all one’s belongings: he threw her out bag and baggage
More example sentences
  • The next day, I was singled out as an ‘S’ passenger at the airport; I presume the S stood for ‘suspect’, since I was searched head-to-toe, bag and baggage, almost misplacing my Christmas present.
  • Ms Hughes added: ‘After getting the council's letter last week I told them I had no choice but to move bag and baggage and that I was moving into private rented accommodation.’
  • The council estate consists of 10 single-story units where a number of families and elderly citizens moved in, bag and baggage, at the official opening of the estate on Monday, February 9.

a bag of bones

An emaciated person or animal: the pony is just a bag of bones
More example sentences
  • She was so pretty and he was just a bag of bones that forgot to stop walking about.
  • While confined to a wheelchair just a few months ago and "just a bag of bones," Adams has gained 25 lb.
  • A dog owner told a court how his pet was 'just a bag of bones' when he went to collect him from boarding kennels.

a bag (or whole bag) of tricks

informal A set of ingenious plans, techniques, or resources: hoteliers are using a whole new bag of tricks to keep their guests on the premises
More example sentences
  • Everyone here is very professional, very focused and has many resources in their bag of tricks.
  • The whole bag of tricks of the average business man, or even of the average professional man, is inordinately childish.
  • On the other hand, he's frustratingly comfortable recycling from his old kit bag of tricks.

be left holding the bag

see hold1.

in the bag

1(Of something desirable) as good as secured: the election is in the bag
More example sentences
  • The president, in other words, probably had the 2004 election in the bag all along.
  • It's as though he just wishes it would go away until the next election is in the bag.
  • With the election in the bag, he may then be forced to rethink the need for tax rises.
2North American Drunk: I don’t think my parents even suspected that I was half in the bag
More example sentences
  • Because turbulence when you're half in the bag is just as bad as turbulence when you're sober.
  • No, I think that when I’m that far in the bag some deeper, primeval urge takes over and I am compelled to do inappropriate things.
  • The same student admitted Sweeney seemed a bit in the bag.

Phrasal verbs

bag on

North American informal Criticize: I don’t know why everyone is bagging on Palmer
More example sentences
  • I don't know why people are still bagging on her.
  • There's no need to bag on someone for not agreeing with you.
  • We all love original horror films and a lot of us love to bag on studios and their horror remakes, gimmicks and 3D trickery.



Pronunciation: /ˈbaɡˌfo͝ol/
noun (plural bagfuls)
Example sentences
  • Yes, she's got a lot of attention from fans, and finds it difficult to reply to all the letters that pour in throughout the week… literally in bagfuls.
  • She goes home nearly every Saturday and comes back Monday mornings, carrying bagfuls of sweet bread, pickled meats and fresh fruit.
  • He gave an exemplary performance yet again and had this been the Oscars he'd have walked away with bagfuls of awards and lucrative contracts.


Middle English: perhaps from Old Norse baggi.

  • The origin of bag is uncertain but it may come from an old Scandinavian word. Some phrases in English come from its use to mean a hunter's game bag, such as having something in the bag, ‘as good as secured’. Another sense, ‘a particular interest or distinctive style’, as in ‘Dance music isn't really my bag’, is probably jazz slang of the late 1950s. In the sense ‘an unattractive woman’, bag or old bag was originally American, and was first recorded in the 1890s.

Words that rhyme with bag

blag, brag, Bragg, crag, dag, drag, flag, gag, hag, jag, lag, mag, nag, quag, rag, sag, scrag, slag, snag, sprag, stag, swag, tag, wag, zag fleabag, tea

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bag

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