hand·​bag | \ ˈhan(d)-ˌbag How to pronounce handbag (audio) \

Definition of handbag

1 : suitcase
2 : a bag held in the hand or hung from a shoulder strap and used for carrying small personal articles and money

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Synonyms for handbag


carry-on, carryall, grip, holdall [chiefly British], portmanteau, suitcase, traveling bag, wallet

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Examples of handbag in a Sentence

flies only with a handbag so he doesn't have to check his luggage her handbag is just big enough to hold her favorite photos and wallet

Recent Examples on the Web

Additional heels can be bought separately for $30 to $50, and heel attachments come in tiny Mime et moi bags that stow easily in a handbag. Tara Paniogue, latimes.com, "Stylish life hacks for new parents," 11 July 2019 The actress accessorized her look with pops of red, including a simple leather belt and a handbag with a gold logo, both designed by Hedi Slimane at Celine. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "Angelina Jolie Proves She is, In Fact, A Greek Goddess," 9 July 2019 Carroll, who is 75 with the energy of a 25-year-old, described how Trump asked for her help picking out a handbag. Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, "E. Jean Carroll “loved” Trump’s response to her rape allegations," 9 July 2019 Most come from North American species, but glass cases also hold products from farther afield, including tiger-bone traditional medicine, elephant-ivory chopsticks, black coral laid out across half a shelf, python-skin boots, a caiman-skin handbag. National Geographic, "In the Alaska-Yukon wilderness, wildlife crime fighters face a daunting task," 25 June 2019 Two popular items in the book—a Chanel handbag and the common football (or soccer ball, for Americans)—highlight some of the upsides and downsides of these rules. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "Every invention you use has one thing in common," 18 June 2019 In nearby Bel Air, handbag tycoon Bruce Makowsky has been taking his 38,000-square-foot spec house on and off the market for the last two years. Jack Flemming, latimes.com, "Big home, big deal: The Manor in Holmby Hills sets new L.A. County price record at $120 million," 1 July 2019 The copycat paradox Take the iconic Chanel 2.55 handbag (pictured above). Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "Every invention you use has one thing in common," 18 June 2019 Some reptiles are also coveted for their skins, made into high-end fashion items such as shoes, belts, and handbags. Dina Fine Maron, National Geographic, "4,000 live reptiles rescued in biggest global raid of its kind," 4 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of handbag

1859, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near handbag


hand ax

hand back


hand baggage



Statistics for handbag

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for handbag

The first known use of handbag was in 1859

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More Definitions for handbag



English Language Learners Definition of handbag

: a woman's small bag or purse used for carrying personal things and money


hand·​bag | \ ˈhand-ˌbag How to pronounce handbag (audio) \

Kids Definition of handbag

: a bag used for carrying money and small personal articles

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More from Merriam-Webster on handbag

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with handbag

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for handbag

Spanish Central: Translation of handbag

Nglish: Translation of handbag for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handbag for Arabic Speakers

Comments on handbag

What made you want to look up handbag? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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