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handbag

[hand-bag]
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noun
  1. 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.
  2. valise.
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Origin of handbag

First recorded in 1860–65; hand + bag
Can be confusedbriefcase handbag pocketbook purse valise wallet
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for handbags

handbags

pl n
  1. facetious an incident in which people, esp sportsmen, fight or threaten to fight, but without real intent to inflict harm (esp in the phrases handbags at dawn, handbags at twenty paces, etc)
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handbag

noun
  1. Also called: bag, (US and Canadian) purse, (chiefly US) pocketbook a woman's small bag carried to contain personal articles
  2. a small suitcase that can be carried by hand
  3. a commercial style of House music
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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

Word Origin and History for handbags

handbag

n.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper