Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A container filled with articles, such as party gifts, to be drawn unseen.
  • n. Slang A miscellaneous collection: The meeting evolved into a grab bag of petty complaints.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a gift, purchase, etc. whose contents are concealed until after a selection is made
  • n. any random assortment, selection or possibility

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. at fairs, a bag or box holding small articles which are to be drawn, without being seen, on payment of a small sum.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A bag containing articles to be obtained by thrusting the hand within and seizing one, the privilege of doing so being previously bought, a common money-getting device at charitable fairs; figuratively, any unscrupulous device for gain or spoils, into which the element of uncertainty enters.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a container from which a person draws a wrapped item at random without knowing the contents
  • n. an assortment of miscellaneous items

Etymologies

From grab + bag. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • For her, he would reach into his grab bag of tricks and produce the best Lucius Cornelius Sulla of them all, free from artifice, innocent of smut and smirch and smarm.

    The First Man in Rome

  • The dozens of citations—“ASD [autism spectrum disorder] references in bold; HgP [mercury] references in italics”—may have looked impressive, but the list was little more than a meaningless grab bag of attributes.

    The Panic Virus

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