- a person's avocation, hobby, major interest, or obsession: Jazz isn't my bag.
- a person's mood or frame of mind: The boss is in a mean bag today.
- an environment, condition, or situation.
- Informal.plenty; much; many (usually followed by of): bags of time; bags of money.
verb (used without object), bagged, bag·ging.
verb (used with object), bagged, bag·ging.
- with all one's personal property: When they went to collect the rent, they found he had left, bag and baggage.
- completely, totally: The equipment had disappeared, bag and baggage, without even the slightest trace.
Origin of bag
Regional variation note
Related Words for leave holding the bagnavigate, exploit, jockey, manipulate, operate, relinquish, vacate, forgo, renounce, dash, rush, bound, dump, skip, scamper, dart, jump, leap, scoot, escape
- with all one's belongings
verb bags, bagging or bagged
Word Origin for bag
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.
leave holding the bag
Abandon someone, force someone to bear the responsibility or blame. For example, Her friends said they were too busy to help with cleaning up, and left Lucy holding the bag. This expression is often put as be left holding the bag, as in When they quit the clean-up committee, Lucy was left holding the bag. This idiom grew out of the earlier give one the bag (to hold), which dates from about 1600 and alludes to being left with an empty bag while others have taken the valuable contents. Also see leave in the lurch.
In addition to the idioms beginning with bag
- bag and baggage
- bag it
- bag of tricks
- brown bagger
- grab bag
- in the bag
- leave holding the bag
- let the cat out of the bag
- mixed bag