See more synonyms for bag on
  1. a container or receptacle of leather, plastic, cloth, paper, etc., capable of being closed at the mouth; pouch.
  2. something resembling or suggesting such a receptacle.
  3. a suitcase or other portable container for carrying articles, as in traveling.
  4. a purse or moneybag.
  5. the amount or quantity a bag can hold.
  6. any of various measures of capacity.
  7. a sac, as in an animal body.
  8. an udder.
  9. Slang. a small glassine or cellophane envelope containing a narcotic drug or a mixture of narcotics.
  10. something hanging in a loose, pouchlike manner, as skin or cloth; a baggy part: He had bags under his eyes from lack of sleep.
  11. Baseball. base1(def 8b).
  12. Hunting. the amount of game taken, especially by one hunter in one hunting trip or over a specified period.
  13. Slang.
    1. a person's avocation, hobby, major interest, or obsession: Jazz isn't my bag.
    2. a person's mood or frame of mind: The boss is in a mean bag today.
    3. an environment, condition, or situation.
  14. bags,
    1. Informal.plenty; much; many (usually followed by of): bags of time; bags of money.
    2. Slang.trousers.
verb (used without object), bagged, bag·ging.
  1. to swell or bulge: A stiff breeze made the sails bag out.
  2. to hang loosely like an empty bag: His socks bagged at the ankles.
  3. to pack groceries or other items into a bag.
verb (used with object), bagged, bag·ging.
  1. to cause to swell or bulge; distend: The wind bagged the curtain.
  2. to put into a bag.
  3. Informal. to kill or catch, as in hunting: I bagged my first deer when I was a teenager.
  4. Slang. to quit, abandon, or skip (often used in the phrase bag it): I bagged my math class today. We'd better bag the deal. I was working too hard so I decided to bag it.
  5. Theater. clew(def 9a).
  1. bags! British Slang. (used to lay first claim to something): Bags it! Bags, I go first!
  1. bag and baggage,
    1. with all one's personal property: When they went to collect the rent, they found he had left, bag and baggage.
    2. completely, totally: The equipment had disappeared, bag and baggage, without even the slightest trace.
  2. bag of bones, an emaciated person or animal.
  3. bag of tricks, a supply of expedient resources; stratagems: Maybe they will finally be honest with us, once they've run through their bag of tricks.
  4. in the bag, Informal. virtually certain; assured; definite: Her promotion is in the bag. The sale of the house is in the bag.
  5. leave holding the bag/sack, Informal. to force to bear the entire blame, responsibility, or loss that was to have been shared: His accomplices flew to South America and he was left holding the bag.
  6. old bag, Slang. an unattractive, often slatternly woman: a gossipy old bag.

Origin of bag

1200–50; 1920–25 for def 29; Middle English bagge < Old Norse baggi pack, bundle
Related formsbag·like, adjectiveun·bagged, adjective
Can be confusedbag sac sack sacque

Regional variation note

1. Although bag and sack are both used everywhere throughout the U.S., the more commonly used word in the North Midland U.S. is bag and in the South Midland is sack. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for bag of tricks

know-how, savvy, wisdom

British Dictionary definitions for bag of tricks


  1. a flexible container with an opening at one end
  2. Also called: bagful the contents of or amount contained in such a container
  3. any of various measures of quantity, such as a bag containing 1 hundredweight of coal
  4. a piece of portable luggage
  5. short for handbag
  6. anything that hangs loosely, sags, or is shaped like a bag, such as a loose fold of skin under the eyes or the bulging part of a sail
  7. any pouch or sac forming part of the body of an animal, esp the udder of a cow
  8. hunting the quantity of quarry taken in a single hunting trip or by a single hunter
  9. derogatory, slang an ugly or bad-tempered woman (often in the phrase old bag)
  10. slang a measure of marijuana, heroin, etc, in folded paper
  11. slang a person's particular taste, field of skill, interest, activity, etcblues is his bag
  12. bag and baggage informal
    1. with all one's belongings
    2. entirely
  13. a bag of bones a lean creature
  14. in the bag slang almost assured of succeeding or being obtained
  15. the bag of tricks or the whole bag of tricks informal every device; everything
verb bags, bagging or bagged
  1. (tr) to put into a bag
  2. to bulge or cause to bulge; swell
  3. (tr) to capture or kill, as in hunting
  4. (tr) to catch, seize, or steal
  5. (intr) to hang loosely; sag
  6. (tr) to achieve or accomplishshe bagged seven birdies
  7. (tr) British informal to reserve or secure the right to do or to have somethinghe bagged the best chair
  8. (tr) Australian slang to criticize; disparage
See also bags

Word Origin for bag

C13: probably from Old Norse baggi; related to Old French bague bundle, pack, Medieval Latin baga chest, sack, Flemish bagge
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 bag of tricks



c.1200, bagge, from Old Norse baggi or a similar Scandinavian source; not found in other Germanic languages, perhaps ultimately of Celtic origin. Disparaging slang for "woman" dates from 1924 (though various specialized senses of this are much older). Meaning "person's area of interest or expertise" is 1964, from Black English slang, from jazz sense of "category," probably via notion of putting something in a bag.

To be left holding the bag (and presumably nothing else), "cheated, swindled" is attested by 1793. Many figurative senses are from the notion of the game bag (late 15c.) into which the product of the hunt was placed; e.g. the verb meaning "to kill game" (1814) and its colloquial extension to "catch, seize, steal" (1818). To let the cat out of the bag "reveal the secret" is from 1760.



mid-15c., "to swell out like a bag;" also "to put money in a bag," from bag (n.). Earliest verbal sense was "to be pregnant" (c.1400). Of clothes, "to hang loosely," 1824. For sense "catch, seize, steal," see bag (n.). Related: Bagged; bagging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bag of tricks in Medicine


  1. An anatomical sac or pouch, such as the udder of a cow.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with bag of tricks

bag of tricks

One's stock of resources and stratagems, as in Mom can fix anything—you never know what she will pull out of her bag of tricks. Alluding to the magician's bag of equipment for performing magic tricks, this term was first recorded in 1694, when Jean de La Fontaine, in one of his fables, has a fox carry a sac des ruses (“bag of tricks”).


In addition to the idioms beginning with bag

  • bag and baggage
  • bag it
  • bag of tricks

also see:

  • brown bagger
  • grab bag
  • in the bag
  • leave holding the bag
  • let the cat out of the bag
  • mixed bag
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.