bag job


US, informal
: a covert and often illegal operation in which an investigator enters into a premises for the purpose of gathering information
That includes "bag jobs" aimed at getting foreign diplomatic codes and some opening of mail to and from U.S. citizens.Newsweek, 13 Jan. 1975
: an operation or process that is secretly prearranged to guarantee a particular outcome
Back then, the sale to Henry and Co. was deemed a bag job by most everyone in the Boston area … and the new owners of the Sox were met with tremendous skepticism.Tony Massarotti, The Boston Herald, 20 Apr. 2008
For some time, Barry and his lawyers have argued that he is the victim of a political bag job to oust him from a job he held for five years.Christopher Walker, The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Massachusetts), 31 Aug. 2005

Word History


probably as shortening of black bag job, from the stereotypical black bag carried on such an operation

First Known Use

1971, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bag job was in 1971

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near bag job

Cite this Entry

“Bag job.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!