Jay-Z on "bag" (v.)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 18 00:58:02 UTC 2006

Jay-Z may be right, WRT BE. If "bag" is used in BE, it would be very
new and its meaning may have changed in the leap over the color bar.
"Bag" isn't as common as all that in WE, in my limited experience. I
know "bag" in the standard WE slang sense only from reading it in
novels or hearing it in movies. I've never heard it in the wild. Of
course, it's still possible that Jay-Z is just bullshitting about what
he thinks the term means. You never know. Certainly, FWIW, Star, the
showbiz-gossip sibling of the National Enquirer, considers J&B to be a


On 9/17/06, Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Jay-Z on "bag" (v.)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> From an Entertainment Weekly interview with rapper/impresario Jay-Z:
> -----
> http://www.ew.com/ew/report/0,6115,1534551-2-4_4||750744|1_,00.html
> Well, it's hard to pinpoint when they [sc. Jay-Z and Beyoncé] did get
> together, given that both parties decline to even admit that they are
> a couple, despite the massive evidence to the contrary. To cite just
> one example, on the recent Beyoncé single ''Deja Vu,'' Jay-Z raps that
> ''We used to bag girls like Birkin bags/Now I bag B''; the
> accompanying clip features the rapper being suggestively pawed by the
> former Destiny's Child frontwoman.
> Yet Jay-Z could not be more emphatic in his denial that the track
> represented any kind of official ''coming out'' for the couple. ''No.
> No. No. No,'' he says. '''Bag' is not having sex. To 'bag' someone is
> to court them. I don't mean having sex.''
> -----
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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