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grab bag

a container or receptacle from which a person at a party or the like draws a gift without knowing what it is.
any miscellaneous collection.
Origin of grab bag
An Americanism dating back to 1850-55 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for grab bag
Historical Examples
  • The situation is naturally one you would not fish out of the grab bag of fate if you could avoid it.

    A Woman Tenderfoot Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
  • Well, he took me in for oysters and bought me candy and three turns at the grab bag.

  • "I don't know what I'll draw out of this grab bag next," and he plunged his arm in again.

    The Opened Shutters

    Clara Louise Burnham
  • His collar came from Noah's grab bag, and, if you remember, there was no washing machine on the ark.

British Dictionary definitions for grab bag

grab bag

a collection of miscellaneous things
(US & Canadian, Austral) a bag or other container from which gifts are drawn at random
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with grab bag

grab bag

A miscellaneous collection, as in The meeting amounted to a grab bag of petty complaints. This term alludes to a container offered at a party or fair, where one dips in for a party favor or prize without knowing what one will get. [ Mid-1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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