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A person holding a handbag.


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


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈhændˌbæɡ/, /ˈhæm.bəɡ/
  • (file)


handbag (plural handbags)

  1. (mainly Commonwealth) A small bag used by women (or sometimes by men) for carrying various small personal items.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in 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 subgenre of house music of the late 1980s, often with booming vocals.
    • 2006, Andy Bennett, Barry Shank, Jason Toynbee, The Popular Music Studies Reader, Psychology Press →ISBN, page 102
      Who else would lug around that uptight feminine appendage, that burdensome emblem of adulthood — the handbag? ... The music genre had even come to be called 'handbag house'. As one clubber explained to  ...



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

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

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