grab bag

noun
  1. a container or receptacle from which a person at a party or the like draws a gift without knowing what it is.
  2. any miscellaneous collection.

Origin of grab bag

An Americanism dating back to 1850–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for grab-bag

ragbag, tontine

Examples from the Web for grab-bag

Contemporary Examples of grab-bag

Historical Examples of grab-bag


British Dictionary definitions for grab-bag

grab bag

noun
  1. a collection of miscellaneous things
  2. US, Canadian and Australian a bag or other container from which gifts are drawn at random
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 grab-bag
n.

"miscellaneous mixture," 1854, originally a carnival game; from grab + bag (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with grab-bag

grab bag

A miscellaneous collection, as in The meeting amounted to a grab bag of petty complaints. This term alludes to a container offered at a party or fair, where one dips in for a party favor or prize without knowing what one will get. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.