AskDefine | Define baggage

Dictionary Definition



1 a case used to carry belongings when traveling [syn: luggage]
2 a worthless or immoral woman

User Contributed Dictionary



Middle English bagage, from Old French bagage, from bague "bundle", from Germanic (compare bag).


  • /ˈbæɡɪdʒ/, /"b

Extensive Definition

Luggage is any number of bags, cases and containers which hold a traveller's articles during transit. The modern traveller can be expected to have packages containing clothing, toiletries, small possessions, trip necessities, and on the return-trip, souvenirs. For some, luggage and the style thereof is representative of the owner's wealth.
Luggage - 1596, from lug (v.) "to drag;" so, lit. "what has to be lugged about" (or, in Johnson's definition, "any thing of more bulk than value"). In 20c., the usual word for "baggage belonging to passengers."
Baggage can be synonymous with "luggage", or can refer to the train of people and goods, both military and of a personal nature, which commonly followed pre-modern armies on campaign. The baggage was considered a strategic resource and closely guarded. Its loss was considered to weaken and demoralize an army, leading to rearguard attacks such as that at the Battle of Agincourt.
Luggage has changed over time. Historically the most common types of luggage were chests or trunks made of wood or other heavy materials. These would be shipped by professional movers. Since the Second World War smaller and more lightweight suitcases and bags that can be carried by an individual have become the main form of luggage.
With more and more passengers travelling by air the baggage handlers have seen an increase of passengers using the airline transport industry's ATA 300 Specifications for baggage designs acceptable for air transport, including both 'hand luggage' and 'hold luggage'.

Types of luggage

  • Trunk - A wooden box, generally much larger than other kinds of luggage. Trunks come in smaller sizes as in the case of footlockers and larger ones called steamers. These days trunks are more commonly used for storage than transportation. Items large enough to require a trunk are now usually shipped in transport cases.
  • Suitcase - A general term that may refer to wheeled or non-wheeled luggage, as well as soft or hard side luggage.
  • Wheeled Upright - A relatively new type of luggage that incorporates an extending handle that allows the traveler to roll it in an upright position.
  • Garment Bag - A style of luggage that folds over on itself to allow long garments such as suits or dresses to be packed flat to avoid creasing. Garment bags come in both wheeled and non-wheeled models, and are usually one of the largest pieces in any set of luggage
  • Tote - A small bag, usually worn on the shoulder, though wheeled models with extending handles have become popular in recent years.
  • Duffel bag - A barrel-shaped bag, almost exclusively soft side, is well suited to casual travel, with very little organization inside. A small bag, usually worn on the shoulder, though wheeled models with extending handles have become popular in recent years. The spelling of this luggage type "duffle" is also valid.
  • Carpet bag - travel luggage traditionally made from carpets.
  • Rolling Luggage - Referring to various types of wheeled luggage either with or without telescoping handles. Typically two fixed wheels on one end with the handle located on the opposite for vertical movement.

Hold luggage

Some vehicles have an area specifically for luggage to be held. Items stored in the hold are known as hold luggage, a typical example would be a suitcase. If travelling by coach passengers will often be expected to place their luggage in the hold, before boarding. Aeroplanes in contrast are loaded by professional baggage handlers.

Hand luggage

Passengers are allowed to carry a limited number of smaller bags with them in the vehicle, these are known as hand luggage (more commonly referred to as carry-on in North America), and contain valuables and items needed during the journey. There is normally storage space provided for hand luggage, either under seating, or in overhead lockers. Trains often have luggage racks at the ends of the carriage near the doors, or above the seats if there are compartments.

Commercial airlines

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sets guidelines for cabin baggage/hand luggage/carry-on luggage size They are not mandatory, however, and individual airlines can and do vary their requirements. The IATA guideline states:
Cabin baggage should have maximum length of 22 in (56 cm), width of 18 in (45 cm) and depth of 10 in (25 cm). The sum of these three dimensions should not exceed 45 in (115 cm). These dimensions include wheels, handles, side pockets, etc.
As an example of the lack of standardisation some of the following airlines requirements are:
Following the increase in restrictions imposed on flights from UK airports and to the USA after the events of August 2006 (2006 transatlantic aircraft plot), hand baggage on such flights was restricted to one cabin bag no bigger than 45 cm x 35 cm x 16 cm*ETQ8fi&p_lva=&p_li=&p_faqid=2355&p_created=1155215804&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPSZwX3NvcnRfYnk9JnBfZ3JpZHNvcnQ9JnBfcm93X2NudD05JnBfcHJvZHM9JnBfY2F0cz0mcF9wdj0mcF9jdj0mcF9zZWFyY2hfdHlwZT1hbnN3ZXJzLnNlYXJjaF9ubCZwX3BhZ2U9MQ**. On 21 September 2006, the UK government advised that from the following day, the allowable size of the single item of hand baggage on outgoing flights from the UK would be increased to 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (ca. 22 in x 18 in x 10 in), the IATA guideline size.
Commercial airline pilots and flight attendants also comply with standards. Those standards are set by individual airlines under "uniform restrictions" which guide and maintain professional dress codes.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word luggage enters printed English in 1596. The word derived from the verb "lug," as in "that which needs to be lugged about." The idea of pulling things inherent in the verb lug combines with the suffix -age to create the word we know today.
"Baggage" is a similar word with the same suffix. This common word ending (-age) means that the item is functionally related to the root word; hence "baggage" is functionally related to the noun "bag," and luggage related to the act of "lugging."

Left luggage

Left luggage, also luggage storage or bag storage, is a place where one can temporarily store one's luggage so as to not have to carry it. Often found at an airport or train station there may be a staffed left luggage counter or simply a coin operated or automated locker system. With higher threats of terrorism all around the globe, this type of public storage is disappearing.
Baggage carts are small vehicles used for transport luggage in airports, railway stations or large bus stations.

Luggage forwarding

Luggage forwarding, also known as luggage shipping or luggage logistics, is a type of specialty shipping service that has been available for approximately 10 years and has grown in demand, particularly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The purpose of luggage forwarding is to reduce the hassles of baggage handling commonly experienced by airline passengers at airports. Travelers have the option to call a company to pick up bags at their home or office, then have them delivered to any destination of choice. The process is usually repeated for round-trip traveling.


baggage in Arabic: أمتعة
baggage in Bulgarian: Багаж
baggage in Czech: Zavazadlo
baggage in German: Gepäck
baggage in Esperanto: Pakaĵo
baggage in Dutch: Bagage
baggage in Polish: Bagaż
baggage in Simple English: Luggage

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Gladstone, Jezebel, apparatus, attache case, backpack, bad woman, bag, bag and baggage, bandbox, bitch, briefcase, broad, cargo, carpetbag, carryall, chippy, clitoromaniac, cocotte, consignment, ditty bag, drab, duffel, duffel bag, dunnage, easy lay, easy woman, flight bag, floozy, footlocker, frail sister, freight, freightage, gear, goods, grip, grisette, handbag, harridan, haversack, holdall, hussy, hysteromaniac, impedimenta, jade, kit, kit bag, knapsack, lading, load, loose woman, luggage, nymphet, nympho, nymphomaniac, outfit, overnight bag, pack, payload, pickup, portmanteau, quean, rucksack, satchel, sea bag, shipment, slattern, slut, strumpet, suitcase, tackle, tart, tote bag, tramp, traps, traveling bag, trollop, trull, trunk, uteromaniac, wanton, wench, whore
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