bag

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

Computing

  • noun a number of elements in no particular order

Construction

  • A quantity of Portland cement; 94 pounds in the United States, 87.5 pounds in Canada, 112 pounds in the United Kingdom, and 50 kilograms in most other countries. Different weights per bag are commonly used for other types of cement. See also sack.

Cricket

  • noun the number of wickets a bowler takes in a given period, as in a match or series; haul
    Citation ‘Tayfield was nursing a knee injury; but his bag for the series, 37 wickets, was a South African record’ (Frith 1984)

Military

  • noun a soft container made of paper, fabric or other material

Slang

  • noun an unattractive and/or unpleasant woman. This usage originated in the early 20th century with the idea of a shapeless, heavy or burdensome female, previously expressed as ‘baggage’.
  • noun one’s special interest or current preoccupation, sphere of activity. This usage came into vogue in Britain among the beatniks and later the hippies in the 1960s. It was derived from black American jazz terminology, where it meant a ‘category’ or ‘style’. By the early 1980s the term had become distinctly dated.
  • noun a package or some measured amount of marihuana or another drug. The custom of American street dealers of grass was, and is, to sell small amounts in paper envelopes or cellophane bags, typically ‘dime bags’ or ‘nickel bags’.
  • noun the sum of £1,000 in the slang of city traders. Unlike bar, pony and other similar terms, this seems to be a fairly recent coinage. It is said to be based on the rhyme ‘bag of sand’: grand.
  • verb to criticise. A ‘bagging’ is a verbal attack or strong criticism.

Travel

  • noun a soft case for carrying clothes when travelling

Origin & History of “bag”

English acquired bag from Old Norse baggi ‘bag, bundle’, but it does not appear in any other Germanic language, which suggests that it may have been borrowed at some point from a non-Germanic language. Forms such as Old French bague, Italian baga, and Portuguese bagua show that it existed elsewhere. A derivative of the Old French word was bagage, from which in the 15th century English got baggage; and Italian baga may have led, by a doubling of diminutive suffixes, to bagatella ‘insignificant property, trifle’, which entered English in the 17th century via French bagatelle (although this has also been referred to Latin bacca ‘berry’ – see (bachelor)).
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