Definition of handbag in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhan(d)baɡ/


1British A small bag used by a woman to carry everyday personal items.
Example sentences
  • 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.
flight bag, travelling bag, handgrip, overnighter;
French minaudière, pompadour;
British  holdall;
North American  purse, pocketbook
rare reticule, caba, keister, Dorothy bag, peggy bag, purse-bag, vanity bag
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
Example sentences
  • 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
(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.’

Words that rhyme with handbag


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hand|bag

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