Definition of brown bag in US English:

brown bag


  • 1A bag made of opaque brown paper.

    • ‘Abe walked to the door with several brown bags in her arms, she had gone shopping after her little engagement.’
    • ‘The colored passengers who boarded for the first time in Washington brought baskets and brown bags of potato salad, biscuits, fried chicken, corn bread, collard greens, and baked macaroni and cheese still warm from the oven.’
    • ‘Her mother handed her a second bag, this one a disposable plain brown bag.’
    • ‘Even your dorky brother got a brown bag full of paper heart cut-outs.’
    • ‘After working your shoes particularly hard, such as on a hot day involving a long walk, or at the end of moving house, wrap the shoes loosely in brown bags or newspapers, and put them in the freezer.’
    • ‘I also have to print out dragon labels to close little brown bags that will contain sweets and cheap toys as prizes for the dragon/knight-related games, and take-home goodies.’
    • ‘The bottles, usually ranging in price from about $50 to $200 each, are presented for tasting in brown bags and scored according to a 100-point system.’
    • ‘To the ceaseless chagrin of my grandmother's spirit, I rarely leave restaurants with brown bags of leftovers.’
    • ‘The musicians had long since stopped playing, and a couple of them had mysteriously disappeared behind their van with a few suspicious-looking brown bags.’
    • ‘Esty carries the book into the house as if it's nothing, just another brown bag among many bags.’
    • ‘‘Pieces of the song were written on one of those brown bags they give you for air sickness on the plane,’ he said.’
    • ‘He continued to push aside crumpled brown bags, papers, receipts to find the matches.’
    • ‘My first grade teacher, Mrs. Williams, had each of us decorate our own little brown bag the week before the Big Day.’
    • ‘After half an hour, I got outside of the store with my groceries handling two big brown bags and a plastic one in my hands, when I bumped into someone.’
    • ‘I turned as Colleen walked into the front door, two large brown bags in her hand.’
    • ‘‘In fact, there is,’ Savannah began as she pulled out a paper brown bag.’
    • ‘Down by the clubhouse, men in starched white shirts and pressed silk pants were lugging giant brown bags of white bread into a makeshift kitchen.’
    • ‘I got up, throwing the goldfish into my paper brown bag, and walked to the trashcan, depositing the lunch.’
    • ‘The brown bag contained nothing but sugar pills.’
    • ‘Another integral part of August is the bounty from gardens and orchards that overflows at roadside stands and at farmer's markets, and from brown bags left on the porch by generous neighbors.’
    1. 1.1 Denoting a cold meal prepared at home and carried in a brown paper bag to work, school, etc.
      as modifier ‘a brown-bag lunch’
      • ‘Inside, more than two dozen ADB staff members, none with a brown bag but some with sandwiches, are assembled during lunch time.’
      • ‘In the last 10 days alone we had a brown bag lunch on diversity in content and two major meetings on reaching younger readers (another audience).’
      • ‘The question is, with the cost of a school lunch at a national average of $1.60 and rising, will parents start packing brown bags?’
      • ‘An Ethiopian art exhibit will also accompany the festival, along with a brown bag lunch series, films and drum workshops.’
      • ‘Little did Nurse Kopeck know, but I always packed myself a massive brown bag lunch full of all kind of fattening foods.’
      • ‘And before you toss the brown bag in the trash compactor, keep in mind how much love mom spreads onto that whole wheat along with the PB&J.’
      • ‘I also took out the brown bag lunch I had prepared for myself yesterday to take today.’
      • ‘I remember taking my brown bag lunch to school every day.’
      • ‘In the kitchen, she found Hera, hard at work packing food into a large brown bag.’
      • ‘I would take my brown bag lunch down to Fish Creek behind the football field where I had smoked pot and done snuff back in my middle school.’
      • ‘Crushed meatballs or pepper and onion frittata stuffed into a thick hunk of Italian bread gave a whole new meaning to the brown bag lunch.’
      • ‘Many spas offer 30-minute massages or 45-minute facials along with a brown bag snack or light lunch.’
      • ‘Swiftly collecting her normal brown bag lunch and a kiss from her mother, Jeri was out of the door and meeting her best friend Kerrin next door.’
      • ‘The CCEAC will also be holding a series of brown bag lunches to inform students about climate change.’
      • ‘The ESS hosts brown bag lunches with candidates for the upcoming municipal election.’
      • ‘Loaded down with water bottles, field journals and brown bag lunches, the students boarded the bright yellow school bus at 9: 00 am.’
      • ‘Meetings also can be held at the beginning or end of a shift, at the end of a staff meeting, or as a brown bag lunch, with the meeting lasting from 45 to 90 minutes.’


[with object]brown-bag it
  • Take a packed lunch to work or school.

    ‘no school lunch next week, so I'm brown-bagging it’
    • ‘She begs and pleads not to have to brown bag it.’
    • ‘Envision how many people you could feed if you get your workplace, friends, and/or church to brown bag it for a week too.’
    • ‘Or, maybe you don't brown bag it yourself, but you may make lunches for your kids, spouse or just on an occasional basis.’
    • ‘I walk to a local taco joint for lunch or brown bag it and read graphic novels during my lunch break.’
    • ‘Another possibility, of course, is to dump the vinyl altogether and brown bag it, which is what Susan Helms, who runs the Mid-South Safe Kids Coalition, suggests.’
    • ‘Most of us brown bag it every day, so this month, we feature a few places that offer some of the tastiest lunches to go.’