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[SOLVED] Use of words "bag" and "sack" in USA by teens and young adults

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<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018
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No dictionary definitions, I beg you.

I went to the market today, and in California we have a ten cent tax every time we need a sack for groceries.

So the cashiers usually ask, do you need a bag or did you bring your own.

I don't wait for them to ask anymore. I say, could I please have a paper sack.

They're young and they correct me by saying, do you mean a bag?

Am I using an outdated word? Or will Rod Serling appear and start narrating?

<a href="/en/translator/swedens0ur" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334503">swedensour</a>
Joined: 09.04.2017

To me, "sack" was something that I've heard from people from the midwest or south from time to time, or my grandparents. It's not used in the PNW very much, at least not in my social circles. We don't use it much in Australia either, just bag or carry bag.

<a href="/en/translator/swedens0ur" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334503">swedensour</a>
Joined: 09.04.2017

It's a dialect thing, I'm sure. Regular smile

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/sailor-pokemoon2" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1399679">Sailor PokeMoon2</a>
Joined: 21.10.2018

I'm from the Midwest and I can confirm that we say the word "sack" more than the term "bag". And when someone uses the other word (say the word " sack") someone else corrects them by saying the word "bag" while most of the time it's not that big of a deal. But I'd like to see Rod Serling appear and start narrating! Maybe I could get his autograph?

<a href="/en/translator/swedens0ur" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334503">swedensour</a>
Joined: 09.04.2017

I don't think should people should be corrected for that. It's understood that sack and bag mean the same thing and it's not an unfamiliar term for many Americans. But that's just my opinion.

Editor Leader of the Balkan Squad
<a href="/en/translator/crimsondyname" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1311076">crimsonDyname</a>
Joined: 14.10.2016

I grew up on the East Coast in the DMV region (DC, Maryland, Virginia) and it's always been "do you want a bag". TBH, the only time I've heard the word "sack" used casually is to refer to someone getting fired from their job.

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<a href="/en/translator/knee427" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1110108">Alma Barroca</a>
Joined: 05.04.2012

I'm not from the US, but I've often seen 'sack' being used as an euphemism for men's testicles - and maybe that's why the people there found it weird (maybe they even laughed at you later Tongue smile ). In the sense you meant, I always heard 'bag' (paper bag, plastic bag, reusable bag, etc.).

Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

Hmmm, it was a man.

Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

But, I have been living in the PNW since a toddler. You're from Oregon. How are the words used in Oregon?

<a href="/en/translator/swedens0ur" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334503">swedensour</a>
Joined: 09.04.2017

We just say bag. I rarely hear sack unless they’re from out of state. My grandparents say sack though and they’re from california.

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<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

Wow, warning to everyone who asks me for help with English! Apparently I am using some outdated vocabulary.

I went back to the same market today and spoke to a cashier approx. ten years older than myself. I pointed to the stack of -- I have to force myself to say it -- bags, and I said, what do you call those things? She said "bags". Acceptance! Denial. No, acceptance!

The other day I asked for a "thumb drive" (USB drive) and the young woman said, "oh, these are called flash drives". Okay, I need to keep up with technology so I'm glad she said it.

Is the word "outdated" outdated? Can anyone understand anything I'm saying? People understood my question, so I must be saying something right.

<a href="/en/translator/swedens0ur" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334503">swedensour</a>
Joined: 09.04.2017

Thumb drive isn't that outdated, I've heard it quite often. But flash drive is more common.

In Australia I believe they just call them a USB or a USB stick but I'm not sure since I haven't talked about one since I've been here.

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<a href="/en/translator/sarah-rose" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1408155">Sarah Rose</a>
Joined: 07.01.2019

I'm in the PNW but grew up in the Midwest, in both places we always called it a "bag." To be honest, I don't think I've ever heard it called a sack - and I'm not a youngin'. Wink smile

When I hear sack, I think of someone getting fired, hit, or "hopping in the sack."

<a href="/en/translator/swedens0ur" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334503">swedensour</a>
Joined: 09.04.2017

Lots of PNW people on this site Regular smile

Probably the only reason I’ve heard “sack” is because my grandparents say it, honestly. I think I’ve heard it from other people but I can’t for sure remember a time.

<a href="/en/translator/swedens0ur" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334503">swedensour</a>
Joined: 09.04.2017

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t understood. I’ve rarely heard people saying they get sacked, just they they got fired. But I’m also sorta young so that might be why.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/brat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334845">Brat</a>
Joined: 13.04.2017

When you seek a sack,
Don't beg for a bag,
Just say:
Bags I the sack!
Wink smile

Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

I wonder when I first heard and started to use the word. Maybe from grandparents. Various grandparents came from various states. One of my grandmother's referred to the couch/sofa as "the davenport".

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<a href="/en/translator/ingirumimusnocte" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1398405">ingirumimusnocte</a>
Joined: 09.10.2018

If that can make you feel better, we also use two different words for these in French (they would translate as "bag" and "pocket"), depending on the region.

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<a href="/en/translator/floppylou" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1336490">Floppylou</a>
Joined: 29.04.2017

I'd say, even more than two in French Regular smile (Sac, poche, cornet, sachet, pochon, nylon …)

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<a href="/en/translator/ingirumimusnocte" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1398405">ingirumimusnocte</a>
Joined: 09.10.2018

True enough, I just mentioned the two I've heard used quite often Regular smile

Member
<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

(I love the cat.)

Editor
<a href="/en/translator/michealt" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1222532">michealt</a>
Joined: 11.10.2014

Words like sack and bag can have many meanings, some generally accepted and others not. What would non-native English speakers make of sentences like "He won't get up yet, he's got some bag in his sack"? Would it even mean the same in US English as in British English?

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<a href="/en/translator/ingirumimusnocte" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1398405">ingirumimusnocte</a>
Joined: 09.10.2018

Still better than an old bag getting the sack.

Editor Leader of the Balkan Squad
<a href="/en/translator/crimsondyname" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1311076">crimsonDyname</a>
Joined: 14.10.2016

I speak fluent (American) English and I have no idea what that sentence means  Teeth smile

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/jadis" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1387945">Jadis</a>
Joined: 01.07.2018

Don't buy the cat in the sack, but don't let the cat out of the bag. Regular smile

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/brat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334845">Brat</a>
Joined: 13.04.2017
michealt wrote:

Words like sack and bag can have many meanings, some generally accepted and others not. What would non-native English speakers make of sentences like "He won't get up yet, he's got some bag in his sack"? Would it even mean the same in US English as in British English?

It's more like American slang meaning "He's got a woman in his bed". Though I'm not American and may be mistaken abit...

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<a href="/en/translator/brat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334845">Brat</a>
Joined: 13.04.2017
Jadis wrote:

Don't buy the cat in the sack, but don't let the cat out of the bag. Regular smile

Oh, this rule is easy to follow because cats are usually sold in crates and boxes nowadays. Teeth smile

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<a href="/en/translator/radu-robert" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1343167">Radu Robert</a>
Joined: 26.06.2017

THas' Clearly methaporical for me .. "some thoughts on his mind"

Editor
<a href="/en/translator/michealt" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1222532">michealt</a>
Joined: 11.10.2014

It's English English slang: bag = girl or woman, sack = bed.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/brat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334845">Brat</a>
Joined: 13.04.2017

I think "mare" is much more common in GB. Like "He's got a mare in his stall". But the sack&bag pair is awesome indeed Teeth smile

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<a href="/en/translator/michealt" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1222532">michealt</a>
Joined: 11.10.2014

I think mare and stall are used by upper middle class twerps trying to sound aristo, while bag and sack are used by us plebeians.

Editor .
<a href="/en/translator/ingirumimusnocte" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1398405">ingirumimusnocte</a>
Joined: 09.10.2018

Tom puts on his yellow jacket Teeth smile

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/brat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334845">Brat</a>
Joined: 13.04.2017

BTW, in Russian an unpleasantly looking woman is often called "кошёлка" which means a kind of bag. Wink smile This word is considered to be used more often in the 'genteel' world while plebeians usually say "тёлка" which means a heifer. Regular smile

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<a href="/en/translator/sarah-rose" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1408155">Sarah Rose</a>
Joined: 07.01.2019
Brat wrote:

BTW, in Russian an unpleasantly looking woman is often called "кошёлка" which means a kind of bag.

We use it similarly in English, although it's usually more for a woman who is mean or nasty rather than just ugly. We call her a bag or an "old bag."

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<a href="/en/translator/ingirumimusnocte" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1398405">ingirumimusnocte</a>
Joined: 09.10.2018

Apparently cows are used to designate dumb or unattractive women in French, English and German.
In French it is also an adjective meaning "nasty" or "harsh", and one of the many unflattering names of the cops.
And also a cow-based adverb (vachement) meaning "nastily" but also "very" or "a lot".
I wonder how such meek and likeable animals came to symbolize all this unpleasantness.

On the other hand, in French, sacks or bags (it's basically the same word "sac", the other word "poche" usually meaning "pocket") have no slangy uses that I know of. They just appear in a few idioms.
You can say "you're dressed like a sack" to someone who looks scruffy, but that's about the meanest use of the word I can think of.

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<a href="/en/translator/breezyday" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1394713">BreezyDay</a>
Joined: 31.08.2018

I'm marking this SOLVED, but the community is welcome to continue with language comparisons/discussions. I believe you'll still receive notifications. Let me know if I'm incorrect and I'll Remove Solved.

Super Member
<a href="/en/translator/sarah-rose" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1408155">Sarah Rose</a>
Joined: 07.01.2019
ingirumimusnocte wrote:

Apparently cows are used to designate dumb or unattractive women in French, English and German.

In English we say this too, although it's usually a derogatory comment about someone who is overweight. Cow is more general (could be a "dumb cow"), but calling someone a heifer would always be about their weight.

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<a href="/en/translator/hansi-klauer" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1249237">Hansi K_Lauer</a>
Joined: 11.06.2015

In German "Kuh" (as a scoldword) is usually pointing at some woman's annoying behaviour, mostly as "blöde Kuh" or "dumme Kuh". (derogative, of course. It's an insult!)
It seldomly would be used to point at her looks. (Then it would be "fette Kuh" or "hässliche Kuh")

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<a href="/en/translator/ingirumimusnocte" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1398405">ingirumimusnocte</a>
Joined: 09.10.2018

We also use "fat cow" or "stupid as a cow" but it's a bit different from the nasty meaning of "cow" alone.
"(oh) la vache!" (oh, the cow!) is a very common way of expressing pained surprise, like "ouch, nasty!".
My favourite cow-derived expression for stupidity is "bête à manger du foin" (so dumb he/she could be fed with hay Teeth smile )

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<a href="/en/translator/annabellanna" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1240490">annabellanna</a>
Joined: 27.03.2015

Also in Italy we say "vacca" as an expression of surprise(oh, la vacca!),but mainly we use it as a synonym of an "easy" woman, a woman who have sex with lots of men. On purpose, there is a joke:

A guy meet an old friend after having been far from his town for a while.
“How do you do?”
“How do you do?”
“Don’t you know? My sister got married!”
“Oh, the cow!”
“No, the other one.”

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<a href="/en/translator/hansi-klauer" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1249237">Hansi K_Lauer</a>
Joined: 11.06.2015

Do they still have the cheese "La vache que rit" ?
Haven't seen that for a long time ...
Regular smile

Editor Absolute Amateur
<a href="/en/translator/annabellanna" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1240490">annabellanna</a>
Joined: 27.03.2015

It wasn't one of the best French cheese...

Editor - Sculptor of Language
<a href="/en/translator/hansi-klauer" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1249237">Hansi K_Lauer</a>
Joined: 11.06.2015

... but the funniest one!
Teeth smile

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<a href="/en/translator/michealt" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1222532">michealt</a>
Joined: 11.10.2014
ingirumimusnocte wrote:

My favourite cow-derived expression for stupidity is "bête à manger du foin" (so dumb he/she could be fed with hay Teeth smile )

But that may not always (but it certainly may sometimes) be cow-derived, variants such as "bête à manger du son" and ""bête à manger du bran" suggest that it was sometimes donkey-derived, or at least that's the animal that was thought of as stupid enough to eat son/bran/foin. Or do donkeys not eat foin, so that the name for the food determines the animal?

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<a href="/en/translator/ingirumimusnocte" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1398405">ingirumimusnocte</a>
Joined: 09.10.2018

Indeed, but for some reason I always picture a cow when using it. The most typical hay-eater, probably.

La vache qui rit is still very much alive and kicking.
A soulless and tasteless industrial cheese, but (or shall I say and?) a planetary success.
The logo is so good they hardly dared change it since its creation, about a century ago.

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<a href="/en/translator/jadis" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1387945">Jadis</a>
Joined: 01.07.2018

Someone tried to launch "La Vache Sérieuse" (The Serious Cow), but for some reason, it never equalled the success of La Vache qui rit. Perhaps because the French are not serious people ?

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<a href="/en/translator/ingirumimusnocte" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1398405">ingirumimusnocte</a>
Joined: 09.10.2018

I guess only especially uptight people would prefer being depressed rather than cheered up by a piece of cheese.

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<a href="/en/translator/sailor-pokemoon2" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1399679">Sailor PokeMoon2</a>
Joined: 21.10.2018

😂😂😂😂😂😂

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