Difference Wiki

Bag vs. Sack: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on September 27, 2023
A "Bag" is a flexible container with an opening at the top, while a "Sack" is typically a large, coarse bag made for holding bulk items.

Key Differences

"Bag" and "Sack" are terms used to describe containers that carry items. While both can serve similar purposes, they have nuances that differentiate them. A "Bag" is a general term for any container made of flexible materials, often with handles, designed to hold and carry items. You can find bags in many shapes, sizes, and materials, tailored for a variety of specific needs, from fashionable purses to reusable grocery bags.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
In contrast, the term "Sack" often brings to mind a larger, more rudimentary container. Sacks are typically made of coarser materials, like jute or burlap, and are commonly used to hold bulk items like grain, potatoes, or coal. Sacks usually don't have the aesthetic or functional designs that bags might possess, focusing more on utility and capacity.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
Another interesting point is the cultural and regional usage of "Bag" and "Sack". In some parts of the U.S., for instance, the words might be used interchangeably, especially in colloquial contexts. Someone might say they got a "sack" of groceries, even if they received them in a plastic or paper bag. However, a designer handbag would never be referred to as a sack because of the different connotations each word carries.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
Lastly, beyond the physical objects, both terms have found their way into idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms. Someone might "bag" an opportunity, meaning they secured it. Conversely, to "get the sack" usually means someone has been dismissed from their job. In these contexts, the words "Bag" and "Sack" take on meanings quite distinct from containers.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Comparison Chart

Basic Definition

A flexible container often with handles.
A coarse, large container, typically without handles.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
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Common Materials

Leather, plastic, cloth, paper.
Jute, burlap, canvas.
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Sep 27, 2023

Typical Usage

Everyday carrying, fashion, storage.
Holding bulk items, agriculture, storage of large quantities.
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Sep 27, 2023

Cultural Connotations

Versatile, design-oriented, tailored for specific uses.
Basic, utility-focused, often for rugged or heavy-duty tasks.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Idiomatic Expressions

"Bag an opportunity", "Let the cat out of the bag."
"Get the sack", "Hit the sack."
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Bag and Sack Definitions

Bag

A container made of flexible material with an opening at the top.
She pulled a book out of her bag.
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Sep 27, 2023
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Sack

A bag-like structure in an animal or plant.
The bee has a nectar sack.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Bag

A base in baseball.
The runner was safe at first bag.
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Sep 27, 2023

Sack

A bag, especially one made of strong material for holding grain or objects in bulk.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A container of flexible material, such as paper, plastic, or leather, that is used for carrying or storing items.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

The amount that a sack can hold
Sold two sacks of rice.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A handbag; a purse.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

Also sacque A short loose-fitting garment for women and children.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A piece of hand luggage, such as a suitcase or satchel.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(Slang) Dismissal from employment
Finally got the sack after a year of ineptitude.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A pouchlike or sagging organ or part of the body, such as a cow's udder.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(Informal) A bed, mattress, or sleeping bag
Hit the sack at 10:00.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

An object that resembles a pouch.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(Baseball) A base.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(Nautical) The sagging or bulging part of a sail.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(Football) A successful attempt at sacking the quarterback.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

The amount that a bag can hold.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

The looting or pillaging of a captured city or town.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

An amount of game taken or legally permitted to be taken.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

Any of various light, dry, strong wines from Spain and the Canary Islands, imported to England in the 1500s and 1600s.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(Baseball) A base.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

To place into a sack
Sacked the groceries.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(Slang) An area of interest or skill
Cooking is not my bag.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(Slang) To discharge from employment
Sacked the workers who were caught embezzling.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(Slang) A woman considered ugly or unkempt.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(Football) To tackle (a quarterback attempting to pass the ball) behind the line of scrimmage.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To put into a bag
Bag groceries.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

To rob (a town, for example) of goods or valuables, especially after capture.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To cause to bulge like a pouch.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A bag; especially a large bag of strong, coarse material for storage and handling of various commodities, such as potatoes, coal, coffee; or, a bag with handles used at a supermarket, a grocery sack; or, a small bag for small items, a satchel.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To capture or kill as game
Bagged six grouse.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

The amount a sack holds; also, an archaic or historical measure of varying capacity, depending on commodity type and according to local usage; an old English measure of weight, usually of wool, equal to 13 stone (182 pounds), or in other sources, 26 stone (364 pounds).
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To gain; acquire
He bagged a profit from the sale.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(uncountable) The plunder and pillaging of a captured town or city.
The sack of Rome
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To capture or arrest
Was bagged for trespassing.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(uncountable) Loot or booty obtained by pillage.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To accomplish or achieve
Bagged a birdie with a long putt.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(American football) A successful tackle of the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. See verb sense4 below.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To fail to attend purposely; skip
Bagged classes for the day and went to the beach.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(baseball) One of the square bases anchored at first base, second base, or third base.
He twisted his ankle sliding into the sack at second.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To stop doing or considering; abandon
Bagged the idea and started from scratch.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(informal) Dismissal from employment, or discharge from a position, usually as give (someone) the sack or get the sack. See verb sense5 below.
The boss is gonna give her the sack today.
He got the sack for being late all the time.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To terminate the employment of.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

Bed (either literally or figuratively); usually as hit the sack or in the sack. See also sack out.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To pack items in a bag.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(dated) (also sacque) A kind of loose-fitting gown or dress with sleeves which hangs from the shoulders, such as a gown with a Watteau back or sack-back, fashionable in the late 17th to 18th century; or, formerly, a loose-fitting hip-length jacket, cloak or cape.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To hang loosely
The pants bag at the knees.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(dated) A sack coat; a kind of coat worn by men, and extending from top to bottom without a cross seam.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To swell out; bulge.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

The scrotum.
He got passed the ball, but it hit him in the sack.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A soft container made out of cloth, paper, thin plastic, etc. and open at the top, used to hold food, commodities, and other goods.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(dated) A variety of light-colored dry wine from Spain or the Canary Islands; also, any strong white wine from southern Europe; sherry.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A container made of leather, plastic, or other material, usually with a handle or handles, in which you carry personal items, or clothes or other things that you need for travelling. Includes shopping bags, schoolbags, suitcases, and handbags.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

Alternative spelling of sac
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(colloquial) One's preference.
Acid House is not my bag: I prefer the more traditional styles of music.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

To put in a sack or sacks.
Help me sack the groceries.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(derogatory) An ugly woman.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

To bear or carry in a sack upon the back or the shoulders.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A fellow gay man.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

To plunder or pillage, especially after capture; to obtain spoils of war from.
The barbarians sacked Rome in 410 CE.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(baseball) The cloth-covered pillow used for first, second, and third base.
The grounder hit the bag and bounced over the fielder’s head.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

(American football) To tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage, especially before he is able to throw a pass.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(baseball) First, second, or third base.
He headed back to the bag.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

To discharge from a job or position; to fire.
He was sacked last September.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(preceded by "the") A breathalyzer, so named because it formerly had a plastic bag over the end to measure a set amount of breath.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A name formerly given to various dry Spanish wines.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(mathematics) A collection of objects, disregarding order, but (unlike a set) in which elements may be repeated.
A bag of three apples could be represented symbolically as {a,a,a}. Or, letting 'r' denote 'red apple' and 'g' denote 'green apple', then a bag of three red apples and two green apples could be denoted as {r,r,r,g,g}.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A bag for holding and carrying goods of any kind; a receptacle made of some kind of pliable material, as cloth, leather, and the like; a large pouch.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A sac in animal bodies, containing some fluid or other substance.
The bag of poison in the mouth of some serpents
The bag of a cow
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A measure of varying capacity, according to local usage and the substance. The American sack of salt is 215 pounds; the sack of wheat, two bushels.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A pouch tied behind a man's head to hold the back-hair of a wig; a bag wig.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

Originally, a loosely hanging garment for women, worn like a cloak about the shoulders, and serving as a decorative appendage to the gown; now, an outer garment with sleeves, worn by women; as, a dressing sack.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

The quantity of game bagged in a hunt.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A sack coat; a kind of coat worn by men, and extending from top to bottom without a cross seam.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A scrotum.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

See 2d Sac, 2.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(UK) A unit of measure of cement equal to 94 pounds.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

Bed.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A dark circle under the eye, caused by lack of sleep, drug addiction etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

The pillage or plunder, as of a town or city; the storm and plunder of a town; devastation; ravage.
The town was stormed, and delivered up to sack, - by which phrase is to be understood the perpetration of all those outrages which the ruthless code of war allowed, in that age, on the persons and property of the defenseless inhabitants, without regard to sex or age.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(slang) A small envelope that contains drugs, especially narcotics.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

To put in a sack; to bag; as, to sack corn.
Bolsters sacked in cloth, blue and crimson.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

£1000, a grand.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

To bear or carry in a sack upon the back or the shoulders.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(informal) A large number or amount.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

To plunder or pillage, as a town or city; to devastate; to ravage.
The Romans lay under the apprehensions of seeing their city sacked by a barbarous enemy.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(transitive) To put into a bag.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A bag made of paper or plastic for holding customer's purchases
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(transitive) To take with oneself, to assume into one's score
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

An enclosed space;
The trapped miners found a pocket of air
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(informal) To catch or kill, especially when fishing or hunting.
We bagged three deer yesterday.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

The quantity contained in a sack
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To gain possession of something, or to make first claim on something.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

Any of various light dry strong white wine from Spain and Canary Islands (including sherry)
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(slang) To steal.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A woman's full loose hiplength jacket
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To take a woman away with one as a romantic or sexual interest.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A hanging bed of canvas or rope netting (usually suspended between two trees); swing easily
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(slang) To arrest.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A loose-fitting dress hanging straight from the shoulders without a waist
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

(transitive) To furnish or load with a bag.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

The plundering of a place by an army or mob; usually involves destruction and slaughter;
The sack of Rome
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To provide with artificial ventilation via a bag valve mask (BVM) resuscitator.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

The termination of someone's employment (leaving them free to depart)
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To fit with a bag to collect urine.
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

Plunder (a town) after capture;
The barbarians sacked Rome
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To expose exterior shape or physical behaviour resembling that of a bag
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Jan 17, 2023

Sack

Terminate the employment of;
The boss fired his secretary today
The company terminated 25% of its workers
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To (cause to) swell or hang down like a full bag.
The skin bags from containing morbid matter.
The brisk wind bagged the sails.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

Make as a net profit;
The company cleared $1 million
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To hang like an empty bag.
His trousers bag at the knees.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

Put in a sack;
The grocer sacked the onions
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To drop away from the correct course.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A large bag made of a material like burlap.
The farmer filled the sack with potatoes.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Bag

To become pregnant.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A forceful dismissal from employment.
After the error, he got the sack.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Bag

To forget, ignore, or get rid of.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

A bed or place to sleep.
I'm heading to the sack early tonight.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Bag

To show particular puffy emotion
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Sack

To plunder or pillage a place.
The invaders sacked the city.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Bag

To swell with arrogance.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To laugh uncontrollably.
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To criticise sarcastically.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A sack or pouch, used for holding anything; as, a bag of meal or of money.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A sac, or dependent gland, in animal bodies, containing some fluid or other substance; as, the bag of poison in the mouth of some serpents; the bag of a cow.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A sort of silken purse formerly tied about men's hair behind, by way of ornament.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

The quantity of game bagged.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A certain quantity of a commodity, such as it is customary to carry to market in a sack; as, a bag of pepper or hops; a bag of coffee.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To put into a bag; as, to bag hops.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To seize, capture, or entrap; as, to bag an army; to bag game.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To furnish or load with a bag or with a well filled bag.
A bee bagged with his honeyed venom.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To swell or hang down like a full bag; as, the skin bags from containing morbid matter.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To swell with arrogance.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

To become pregnant.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A flexible container with a single opening;
He stuffed his laundry into a large bag
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

The quantity of game taken in a particular period (usually by one person);
His bag included two deer
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

Place that runner must touch before scoring;
He scrambled to get back to the bag
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A bag used for carrying money and small personal items or accessories (especially by women);
She reached into her bag and found a comb
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

The quantity that a bag will hold;
He ate a large bag of popcorn
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A portable rectangular traveling bag for carrying clothes;
He carried his small bag onto the plane with him
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

An ugly or ill-tempered woman;
He was romancing the old bag for her money
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

Mammary gland of bovids (cows and sheep and goats)
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

An activity that you like or at which you are superior;
Chemistry is not my cup of tea
His bag now is learning to play golf
Marriage was scarcely his dish
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

Capture or kill, as in hunting;
Bag a few pheasants
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

Hang loosely, like an empty bag
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Jan 17, 2023

Bag

Bulge out; form a bulge outward, or be so full as to appear to bulge
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

Take unlawfully
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

Put into a bag;
The supermarket clerk bagged the groceries
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 17, 2023

Bag

A hand-held accessory used for fashion or carrying personal items.
Her new leather bag was a real showstopper.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Bag

An amount of game or fish caught.
He had a good bag after a day of hunting.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Bag

To secure something or achieve.
He bagged the top prize at the competition.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

FAQs

Are all sacks considered bags?

Generally, yes. A sack is a type of bag, though not all bags are sacks.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

What materials are bags commonly made of?

Bags can be made of leather, cloth, paper, plastic, among others.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Do sacks always lack handles?

Not always, but traditional sacks often don't have handles.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Are bags usually smaller than sacks?

Often, yes. Bags come in various sizes, but sacks are generally larger and hold bulk items.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can a sack be used as a fashion accessory?

Typically, no. Sacks are more utilitarian, whereas bags can be fashionable.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Is a "sack dress" made from burlap?

No. A "sack dress" refers to a shape, not the material.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Are backpacks considered bags?

Yes, backpacks are a type of bag designed to be worn on the back.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Can sacks be sealed?

Yes, they can be tied or sealed, especially if storing perishables.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can "bag" be used as a verb?

Yes, like "to bag an opportunity".
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

What does "hit the sack" mean?

It's an idiom meaning to go to bed.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

What items are commonly stored in sacks?

Items like grains, potatoes, or coal are often stored in sacks.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Are bags typically more refined than sacks?

Generally, bags can be more refined and designed for various purposes, while sacks are more basic.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Can "sack" be used as a verb?

Yes, like "the city was sacked by invaders".
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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