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Bag of all meanings

Earlier this month, The Nation ran some good news saying, "Mathematicians Bag Top Awards". As we know, a mathematician is somebody who studies numbers, shapes and spheres using reason, symbols or rules but what were they doing with a "bag" in this headline?

"Bag" here is a verb: When someone "bags" something, they get it before other contenders can get their hands on the thing.

I'll be going to Nakhon Si Thammarat next week and bag some Jatukham amulets for us.

So what the headline is really saying is that those mathematicians "won" the top awards.

A bag as we all know is a kind of container, so when someone says they have bags of something, they mean there's a large amount of these things. This is informal usage - the same as in the headline above - and the word bag has many other meanings that are not connected to "container".

The kids say they'd love to visit, but they've got bags of homework to do before their exams next week. Can we visit after their exams, Mother?

Baggy clothes are something most people don't like wearing, because they are too big and hang loosely.

How can you exercise in baggy track pants? Don't you have anything smaller?

I love cats but I'm very careful not to "let the cat out of the bag" because if I do, I'll unintentionally be making a secret known.

I told Kenny not to tell anybody where our clubhouse is, but he "let the cat out of the bag".

But what if you're "pulling" something out of the bag? When someone pulls something out of a bag or hat, they're doing something totally unexpected which suddenly helps improve the situation.

I was not worried at all; I knew that John would be able to pull something out of the bag/hat.

And, last but not least, what happens if you're "left holding the bag"? This expression is used only in the US, the British equivalent is to "be left holding the baby". The expression explains a situation where somebody is suddenly left to deal with a difficult situation because others have decided that they do not want the responsibility.

Sue complained that she was left holding the bag/baby because she was the one who initiated the project.


Complete the following sentences using the expressions explained:

1. I told the boss that Kate would not disappoint us; she was so experienced that there would be no problem for her to……?

2. This deal is between you and me, and if you …… it is cancelled.

3. The government lacks direction and vision, so in the end most investors of the mega-projects decided to pull out and the government is…...

4. If you have a chance…… us three tickets for the concert, will you?

5. There are…… beds available during summer break at my dormitory. You don't need to pay for a hotel room.

6. Look! I paid Bt500 for this T-shirt and after one wash it is already….

Answers: 1. Pull something out of the bag/hat 2. let the cat out of the bag 3. left holding the bag/baby 4. bag 5. bags of 6. baggy


By Parnsap Yomanage

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