American English

Definition of bag noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] (often in compounds) a container made of paper or plastic, which opens at the top, used especially in stores a plastic/paper bag a shopping/lunch bag a black plastic trash/garbage bag
  2. 2[countable] a strong container made from cloth, plastic, leather, etc., usually with one or two handles, used to carry things in when shopping or traveling a tote/makeup bag an overnight bag He's upstairs unpacking his bags. She opened her bag (= her handbag ) and took out her comb. see also airbag, beanbag, garment bag, goody bag, punching bag, sandbag, tea bag Which Word?baggage / luggage / bags Baggage is the term used for the packed suitcases that travelers carry with them:I try not to check any baggage if I can. baggage handlers the baggage claim area in the airport Luggage is more formal than baggage and is often used to describe the empty bags themselves:I need to buy some new luggage for my vacation next month. Both baggage and luggage are noncount nouns:Do you have a lot of baggage? The couple had matching luggage. Bags are individual pieces of baggage:You're allowed one checked bag and one carry-on. How many bags do you have?
  3. amount
  4. 3[countable] bag (of something) the amount contained in a bag She ate a bag of chips. see also mixed bag, ragbag
  5. under eyes
  6. 4bags [plural] dark circles or loose folds of skin under the eyes, as a result of getting old or lack of sleep
  7. unpleasant woman
  8. 5[countable] (informal) an insulting word for an unpleasant or bad-tempered older woman an interfering old bag see also scumbag, windbag
  9. birds/animals
  10. 6[countable, usually singular] all the birds, animals, etc. shot or caught on one occasion We got a good bag today. There are many other compounds ending in bag. You will find them at their place in the alphabet.
  11. Idioms
    (not) somebody's bag (informal)
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    (not) something that you are interested in or good at Poetry isn't really my bag.
    a bag of bones (informal)
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    a very thin person or animal The cat hadn't been fed for weeks and was just a bag of bones.
    a bag of tricks (informal)
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    a set of methods or equipment that someone can use Hotel managers are using a whole new bag of tricks to attract guests.
    be a bag/bundle of nerves (informal)
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    to be very nervous
    be in the bag (informal)
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    if something is in the bag, it is almost certain to be won or achieved
    leave somebody holding the bag (informal)
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    to suddenly make someone responsible for something important, such as finishing a difficult job, that is really your responsibility You two were going to fly off and leave me holding the bag.
    let the cat out of the bag
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    to tell a secret carelessly or by mistake I wanted it to be a surprise, but my sister let the cat out of the bag.
    pack your bags (informal)
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    to leave a person or place permanently, especially after a disagreement
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: bag