Definition of carpetbagger in English:



derogatory, informal
  • 1A political candidate who seeks election in an area where they have no local connections.

    • ‘He looked to some like a carpetbagger who knew nothing about the constituency - and he was not a Catholic, as many in the local party are.’
    • ‘After all, these people could not be portrayed as carpetbaggers or outside agitators.’
    • ‘As far as he's concerned, anyone participating in them is a carpetbagger, an allusion to exiled politicians whom he expects to be the regime's most prominent figures.’
    • ‘A candidate in Kansas may score points by accusing his opponent of being a carpetbagger.’
    • ‘The carpetbaggers who streamed into the South for political and economic gain aggravated the wounds which the war had opened.’
    • ‘But as an unknown to many of his would be constituents, he was branded a carpetbagger and a wealthy outsider.’
    • ‘There are a lot of carpetbaggers and scam-artists operating in southern Africa and by telephone from offshore bases.’
    • ‘What struck me most in conversations with several dozen volunteers, carpetbaggers and locals alike, was the almost uniform answer they gave when I asked if they had ever worked on a national political campaign: No.’
    • ‘The recent fight with carpetbaggers cost policyholders several million pounds.’
    • ‘Yet such a huge amount of cash will ensure the company remains a target for carpetbaggers, with policyholders potentially benefiting from ever-larger windfalls were the Edinburgh-based insurer to float.’
    1. 1.1British A person who becomes a member of a mutually owned building society or insurance company in order to gain financially in the event of the organization demutualizing.
      • ‘Company executives could take heart from the success of another firm at repelling a raid from carpetbaggers after members last week turned down windfalls to support the management.’
      • ‘Obviously, the banks and the financiers and the carpetbaggers and everyone else in the money market sees this as a great financial bonanza potentially and it is.’
      • ‘Serious carpetbaggers with money to invest long-term may decide that they can play the waiting game.’
      • ‘If there was any deception it was the way the highly organised carpetbaggers manipulated these polls to influence the outcome.’
      • ‘I had always been convinced that previous building society carpetbaggers were being paid for their work.’
      • ‘The management team may face further demutualisation attempts by carpetbaggers, given that the company's constitution currently allows for a valid resolution to convert from only 50 members.’
      • ‘‘The paper did itself a lot of damage when it lined up behind the carpetbaggers who were trying to demutualise the building society,’ says one financier, anxious not to be named.’
      • ‘A convincing vote in favour of mutual status would have deterred future carpetbaggers.’
      • ‘They say that they are not accepting members now because there are carpetbaggers coming in to get their share of the spoils.’
      • ‘The carpetbaggers have given no business reason to demutualise.’


Mid 19th century: originally applied to people from the northern states of the US who went to the South after the Civil War to profit from the Reconstruction.