ruck·​sack ˈrək-ˌsak How to pronounce rucksack (audio)
plural rucksacks
chiefly British
: a bag that is strapped to the back with two shoulder straps and is used for carrying personal belongings and supplies : knapsack
I picked up a rucksack full of spare gear and began to slog back up the steep, slippery grass to the headland.A. Alvarez
As U.S. soldiers gird for war in the 21st century with chemical suits, night-vision goggles and … rifles, there is still one item in their rucksacks that even their great-grandfathers would recognize: chewing gum.Cynthia Schreiber
On the nature hike, I will be just like Sacajawea, Molly thought as she packed her rucksack.Valerie Tripp
The last thing you want is a heavy rucksack slopping about on your back, threatening to throw you off balance …Clive Tully
"I'm hungry," complained the girl. The boy turned on a torch and peered inside a grey canvas rucksack behind him. "There's an apple."Melvin Burgess

Example Sentences

hikers carrying their food and water in rucksacks
Recent Examples on the Web Still based in rural Germany, close to the borders with Switzerland and Austria, Vaude started by making rucksacks, and now sells its hiking, biking, and mountaineering products worldwide. Carlton Reid, Forbes, 8 Mar. 2023 Gathering as many nuggets as his rucksacks can hold, the man sets out for the nearest city to deposit his findings. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 4 May 2023 Going on a backpacking trip and need to fit all your stuff in one rucksack? Anna Popp, Travel + Leisure, 28 Apr. 2023 The final round is the ruck walk, carried out on a treadmill set to 4 miles per hour, with the incline increasing by 3 degrees every 5 minutes, while carrying a 55-pound rucksack on their backs and an 8-pound weapon in their hands (a sledgehammer is used here to simulate the weight of a rifle). Philip Ellis, Men's Health, 11 Apr. 2022 His local newspaper told the tale of a former U.S. Army staff sergeant who left behind his job and family and picked up a rifle and a rucksack on the front line. Thomas Gibbons-neff, New York Times, 25 Mar. 2023 This water-repellent nylon rucksack — equipped with a trolley-compatible strap, exterior padded zip pocket (which can fit a 16-inch laptop), and an expandable lower pocket designed for shoes or wet gear — can easily do double duty as both your carry-on and your day trip carryall. Talia Ergas, Travel + Leisure, 24 Jan. 2023 Unlike Greene, O’Brien entrenches his work of fiction (this is what the title page calls it) in the physicality of war: the exhausting task of carrying rucksacks up hills, the strange sounds in the jungle, the overflowing river that drowns a friend. Eric Nguyen, Washington Post, 23 Mar. 2023 This isn’t your elementary-school rucksack. Mike Richard, Men's Health, 24 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History


German, from German dialect, from Rucken back + Sack sack

First Known Use

1853, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rucksack was in 1853

Dictionary Entries Near rucksack

Cite this Entry

“Rucksack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


ruck·​sack ˈrək-ˌsak How to pronounce rucksack (audio)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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