Definition of handbag in English:
1British A small bag used by a woman to carry everyday personal items.
- They are all small enough to fit in a purse or handbag, and I know that you will be thankful to have them.
- Both teenagers who cannot be named for legal reasons, face a further charge of stealing a handbag containing a purse, cash and credit cards.
- He then demanded money and the student took her purse out of her handbag and threw it on the ground.
2 (handbags) humorous A confrontation that does not lead to serious fighting, especially among soccer players.
[from the idea of women fighting with their handbags]
- The Real World Consultant, who ended up as referee, told us by email that it was serious, handbags at dawn, stuff.
- Players from both sides got involved in handbags on 70 minutes.
- The dust has now settled on the handbags at dawn battle with The Killers and their self-titled debut album has been in the public domain for a while now.
verb (handbags, handbagging, handbagged)[with object] informal , humorous Back to top
(Of a woman) verbally attack or crush (a person or idea) ruthlessly and forcefully: I saw her last week and got handbagged for 15 minutes
[ 1980s: coined by Julian Critchley, Conservative MP, with reference to Margaret Thatcher's ministerial style in cabinet meetings]
More example sentences
- In appearance, London will give up €1.5billion a year from Britain's annual rebate, handbagged by Margaret Thatcher in 1984 after a traditional Anglo-French spat over farm cash and currently running at around €5billion a year.
- This was Prodi at his most clumsily counterproductive: the deal handbagged by Margaret Thatcher in 1984 clearly does need to be renegotiated to take account of greater UK wealth, a 25-member union and less spending on farm subsidies.
- Simpson points out: ‘That means all those members of Women's Institutes who are currently handbagging our own Prime Minister over his GM plans are now tainted as dangerous terrorists.’
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