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[hav-er-sak] /ˈhæv ərˌsæk/
a single-strapped bag worn over one shoulder and used for carrying supplies.
a soldier's bag for rations, extra clothing, etc.
Origin of haversack
1740-50; earlier havresack < French havresac < German Habersack, equivalent to Haber oats (compare dialectal English haver < Old Norse hafrar oats) + Sack sack1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for haversack
Historical Examples
  • The knapsack was heavy, the haversack was heavy, the musket was heavy.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • Taking the haversack, he left the thicket and went back to the brink of Chickahominy.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • Edward emptied them into the haversack he carried and went on to the next.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • Edward returned to the front, gave up his haversack, and got another.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • There is some cold meat in my haversack, if you are hungry; but I am too tired to eat.

    A Final Reckoning G. A. Henty
  • Each scout had his staff in his hand, and carried a haversack on his back.

  • He had just as much in his haversack as I had when we cut loose from the main column.

    Under Fire Charles King
  • The men had nothing but what they carried in knapsack and haversack.

    From Fort Henry to Corinth Manning Ferguson Force
  • A haversack was on his back, hanging from lanyards that creased a smart coat.

    The Rich Little Poor Boy Eleanor Gates
  • The infantryman carried a rifle, belt, haversack and canteen.

    A Soldier in the Philippines Needom N. Freeman
British Dictionary definitions for haversack


a canvas bag for provisions or equipment, carried on the back or shoulder
Word Origin
C18: from French havresac, from German Habersack oat bag, from Old High German habaro oats + Sacksack1
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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Word Origin and History for haversack

1749, from French havresac (1670s), from Low German hafersach "cavalry trooper's bag for horse provender," literally "oat sack," from the common Germanic word for "oat" (see haver (n.1)) + sack (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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