excess baggage

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excess baggage ‎(uncountable)

  1. (literally travel) Luggage which exceeds the allowable size or weight (as for an airline flight or train trip), and for which an extra fee must therefore be paid.
    • 2003 August 29, Roger Collis, "Frequent Traveler: Send blues packing," New York Times (retrieved 20 June 2013):
      Watch your weight: Excess baggage is damaging to the wallet. Airlines charge typically from $20 to $30 a kilogram.
  2. (idiomatic) Something or someone not needed or not wanted; something or someone of little use or importance; something or someone considered burdensome.
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses, Episode 14:
      "Come on, you dog-gone, bullnecked, beetlebrowed, hogjowled, peanutbrained, weaseleyed four flushers, false alarms and excess baggage!"
    • 1976 Dec. 6, Paul Gray, "Books: Book of Changes" (review of The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston), Time:
      Exiles and refugees . . . are likely to find the old ways and old language excess baggage, especially if their adopted homeland is the U.S., where the race is to the swift and the adaptable.
  3. (idiomatic) A dubious or unhelpful mental outlook, emotional disposition, or personal history.
    • c. 1905, O. Henry, "The Handbook of Hymen":
      A chin-whiskered man in Walla-Walla, carrying a line of hope as excess baggage, had grubstaked us.
    • 1996 April 8, Murray Chass, "On Baseball: An Early Lesson on Expectation vs. Reality," New York Times (retrieved 20 June 2013):
      The Pirates entered the season lugging no one's expectations as excess baggage.
    • 2004 March 24, J. F. Kelly Jr., "Living with his anti-war past," San Diego Source (retrieved 20 June 2013):
      Every candidate for public office probably has some excess baggage to carry around that he'd rather not have. With Sen. John Kerry, it's undoubtedly his anti-Vietnam War activism.