Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[hand-bag] /ˈhændˌbæg/
a bag or box of leather, fabric, plastic, or the like, held in the hand or carried by means of a handle or strap, commonly used by women for holding money, toilet articles, small purchases, etc.
Origin of handbag
First recorded in 1860-65; hand + bag
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for handbag
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But she would not nibble the feast now; and closing "The Daisy Chain," begun to unpack her handbag.

    Eyebright Susan Coolidge
  • Then he came in a cab with a handbag and took away the gold.

    The Motor Pirate George Sidney Paternoster
  • “All right,” and Loria took the little sheaf of papers she produced from her handbag.

    The Curved Blades Carolyn Wells
  • When he had packed a handbag and left a note for Flora, he rejoined her in the hall.

    The Freelands John Galsworthy
  • During the day he went to the end of the car to get Sue a drink, taking a folding silver cup his mother carried in her handbag.

British Dictionary definitions for handbag


Also called bag, (US and Canadian) purse, (chiefly US) pocketbook. a woman's small bag carried to contain personal articles
a small suitcase that can be carried by hand
a commercial style of House music
Word Origin
(for sense 3) C20: humorous allusion to the trend for groups of women to dance round their handbags in discos, nightclubs, etc
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for handbag

also hand-bag, 1854, from hand (n.) + bag (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for handbag

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for handbag

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for handbag