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.

Nearby words

  1. hand-wash,
  2. hand-wringing,
  3. hand-written,
  4. handan,
  5. handba',
  6. handbags,
  7. handball,
  8. handball, team,
  9. handbarrow,
  10. handbasket

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for handbag

British Dictionary definitions for handbag



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

Word Origin for handbag

(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 handbag



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper