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

Examples of carpetbag in a Sentence

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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'carpetbag.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 29 May. 2024.

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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