to bring (one’s own liquor) to a restaurant or club, especially one that has no liquor license.
to bring (one’s lunch) to work or elsewhere, usually in a small brown paper bag.
to carry one’s lunch in a brown paper bag.
brought to work, usually in a small brown paper bag:
a brown-bag lunch.
brown-bag it, to bring one’s lunch to work or elsewhere, especially in a brown paper bag.
Usage Note

A person who brown-bags (1960s+)
Avery ugly person; double-bagger (1970s+)

A person who brings his or her own supplies, as in The architects of the new office designed a space for brown baggers to eat lunch. The term originated in the 1930s in Britain for very serious students who carried their books about with them in brown briefcases or bags. That usage crossed the Atlantic within a few decades. However, in America from the 1960s on, it has primarily been used for persons who brought their own liquor in a brown paper bag, either legitimately or surreptitiously, to a public place or restaurant not licensed to sell it, or for those who took their lunch to work.


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