1. Often bagpipes. a reed instrument consisting of a melody pipe and one or more accompanying drone pipes protruding from a windbag into which the air is blown by the mouth or a bellows.
verb (used with object), bag·piped, bag·pip·ing.
  1. Nautical. to back (a fore-and-aft sail) by hauling the sheet to windward.

Origin of bagpipe

First recorded in 1300–50, bagpipe is from the Middle English word baggepipe. See bag, pipe1
Related formsbag·pip·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bagpipes

Contemporary Examples of bagpipes

Historical Examples of bagpipes

  • There may be some people who have a prejudice against the bagpipes.

  • Among the party was Sergeant Clarke, who brought his bagpipes with him.

  • Wandering Willie was nowhere, but the atmosphere was full of bagpipes.

  • Pay the man that played upon me after I was made into bagpipes!

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • There were brass bands, drum and fife bands, and bands of bagpipes.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

British Dictionary definitions for bagpipes


pl n
  1. any of a family of musical wind instruments in which sounds are produced in reed pipes supplied with air from a bag inflated either by the player's mouth, as in the Irish bagpipes or Highland bagpipes of Scotland, or by arm-operated bellows, as in the Northumbrian bagpipes


  1. (modifier) of or relating to the bagpipesa bagpipe maker
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 bagpipes



late 14c., from bag (n.) + pipe (n.1); originally a favorite instrument in England as well as the Celtic lands, but by 1912 English army officers' slang for it was agony bags. Related: Bagpiper (early 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper