A handbag
A handbag being held


hand +‎ bag. The music genre is named from women dancing around a pile of their handbags in nightclubs.



handbag (plural handbags)

  1. (UK and Canada) A small bag used by women (or sometimes by men) for carrying various small personal items.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, The Celebrity:
      Then came a maid with hand-bag and shawls, and after her a tall young lady. She stood for a moment holding her skirt above the grimy steps, with something of the stately pose which Richter has given his Queen Louise on the stairway, and the light of the reflector fell full upon her.
  2. (uncountable) An anthemic subgenre of house music of the late 1980s, often with booming vocals.


  • (bag used by women): purse (North American)
  • (subgenre of house music): diva house, handbag house


Derived termsEdit



handbag (third-person singular simple present handbags, present participle handbagging, simple past and past participle handbagged)

  1. (UK, transitive, humorous) Figuratively, to hit with a handbag; to attack verbally or subject to criticism (used originally of Margaret Thatcher).

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Last modified on 28 March 2014, at 03:52