Bag And Baggage: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
June 13, 2023

The idiom "bag and baggage" refers to all the belongings someone has and often implies leaving or arriving with all of one's possessions. Moreover, it's also used metaphorically to describe accepting or rejecting everything or everyone associated with a situation.

In short:

"Bag and baggage" typically represent total inclusion or exclusion of every aspect, item, or person involved in a situation.

What Does "Bag and Baggage" Mean?

The phrase suggests a comprehensive approach, whether it's about moving, departing, arriving, or addressing a situation. For example, you might pack up a bag and baggage when moving house, meaning you take everything you own with you.

Let's explore its core meanings:

  • It often refers to all of one's belongings, especially in the context of travel or relocation.
  • It can metaphorically denote the entirety of a situation or group, encompassing all the associated elements.
  • While it is often used informally, it can carry serious implications regarding commitment and decision-making.

Where Does "Bag and Baggage" Come From?

The phrase "bag and baggage" originates from the 1400s and originally referred to an army's property. To "march off bag and baggage" meant that the departing army was not leaving anything behind for the enemy's use. The phrase soon came to be used more generally to mean "with all possessions" or "completely."

The phrase can also be used to refer to the total, complete, or comprehensive nature of something. For instance, if a person rejects an idea of "bag and baggage," they are rejecting it in its entirety, not just certain parts of it.

Historical Example

“With bag and baggage, selye wretch, / I yelded into Beautie’s hand.” 

- Tottel’s Miscellany, Richard Tottel, 1557

10 Examples of "Bag and Baggage" in Sentences

Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:

  • They moved out tout de suite to start anew, bag and baggage.
  • I decided to accept the new job, taking my family with me, bag and baggage.
  • She arrived in the city with her bag and baggage, ready to start a new life.
  • They were evicted from their apartment and thrown out bags and baggage.
  • When joining the club, you must accept its rules, bag and baggage.
  • To each their own, and she chose to depart bag and baggage from her old job.
  • Liza left for his future endeavors, packing his dreams and goals, bag and baggage, into his plans.
  • I had to work from dusk till dawn, carrying my responsibilities, bag and baggage through the day.
  • She accepted the new philosophy bag and baggage, fully committing to its principles.
  • The project had become the bane of my life, consuming my time and energy, bag and baggage.

Examples of "Bag and Baggage" in Pop Culture

The phrase "bag and baggage" occasionally appears in pop culture, often referring to the idea of comprehensive change or total inclusion or exclusion.

Let's examine some examples:

  • Bag and Baggage is a 1923 American silent comedy film directed by Finis Fox and starring Gloria Grey, John Roche, and Carmelita Geraghty.
  • Bag and Baggage is a collection of short stories by Bernard Capes, first published in 1913. The stories are set in a variety of locations and time periods and deal with a wide range of themes, including love, loss, betrayal, and redemption.

Other/Different Ways to Say "Bag and Baggage"

There are numerous alternative expressions that convey a similar meaning to "bag and baggage."

Here are some of them:

  • Lock, stock, and barrel
  • Everything but the kitchen sink
  • Whole hog
  • Root and branch
  • All in

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Bag and Baggage":

  • What does "bag and baggage" mean?

"Bag and baggage" generally refers to all of one's possessions or everything associated with a situation or group.

  • How can I use "bag and baggage" in a sentence?

You can use "bag and baggage" to signify total inclusion or exclusion. For example, "I left my old job bag and baggage."

  • Where does the idiom "bag and baggage" come from?

The term originated in the late 16th century and is used to denote all of a person's property.

  • Is "bag and baggage" a formal term?

"Bag and baggage" is neither overly formal nor overly casual; it's appropriate in many contexts, including informal and formal speech and writing.

  • Does "bag and baggage" only refer to personal belongings?

No, while it often refers to personal belongings, especially in the context of travel or relocation, it can also refer to the entirety of a situation or group.

  • Can you use it metaphorically?

Yes, "bag and baggage" can be used metaphorically to refer to all aspects of a situation, including people, things, ideas, or conditions.

  • Is "bag and baggage" used commonly today?

Yes, while it may not be as commonly used as some other idioms, "bag and baggage" is still a recognizable and frequently used phrase in English.

  • Are there other idioms similar to "bag and baggage"?

Yes, other idioms that convey a similar meaning include "lock, stock, and barrel" and "everything but the kitchen sink."

  • Does "bag and baggage" have any negative connotations?

Not inherently, but it can take on negative connotations if used in contexts related to eviction or dismissal.

  • Can you use it in professional or academic writing?

Yes, "bag and baggage" can be used in professional or academic writing. However, as with any idiom, its use should be limited and appropriate to the context.

Final Thoughts About "Bag and Baggage"

The idiom "bag and baggage" refers to the entirety of one's possessions or everything associated with a situation or group. It can be used in both literal and metaphorical contexts and is neither overly formal nor overly casual.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The term often denotes all of one's belongings, particularly when discussing travel or relocation.
  • The phrase has origins in the late 16th century.
  • While it can be used metaphorically to refer to all aspects of a situation, it doesn't inherently have any negative connotations.

Whether discussing moving houses or complete immersion in a situation, "bag and baggage" is a colorful idiom that adds richness to our language.

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