1 of 2


car·​pet·​bag ˈkär-pət-ˌbag How to pronounce carpetbag (audio)
: a traveler's bag made of carpet and widely used in the U.S. in the 19th century


2 of 2


variants or carpetbagging
: of, relating to, or characteristic of carpetbaggers
a carpetbag government

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Whenever things grow desperate, Fogg pulls wads of cash from his carpetbag to pay captains to sail faster, to buy an elephant as jungle transport or, finally, to acquire and destroy an entire steamship. Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2021 Another challenger carried a carpetbag up on stage as a prop to protest Romney's presence in the race -- illustrating the animosity toward Romney even at that early juncture. Maeve Reston, CNN, 1 May 2021 This clever prop allows the British nanny to pull gigantic items from her carpetbag, including a hat rack and full-length mirror. José Mandojana, Popular Mechanics, 2 Aug. 2020 Found in his carpetbag after his capture were many letters from his supporters, including one from Elizabeth Gloucester. Steve Bell, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2019 Mary’s seemingly bottomless carpetbag purse is one of the first tricks on display. Matthew J. Palm,, 13 Aug. 2019 When the boy went to the room of his father, Lincoln immediately asked for his carpetbag., 12 Feb. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carpetbag.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use


1829, in the meaning defined above


1870, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of carpetbag was in 1829

Dictionary Entries Near carpetbag

Cite this Entry

“Carpetbag.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
car·​pet·​bag -ˌbag How to pronounce carpetbag (audio)
: a traveling bag made of carpeting and very popular in the U.S. in the 19th century


2 of 2 adjective
: of or relating to carpetbaggers

More from Merriam-Webster on carpetbag

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