The meaning of baggage vs luggage



What is the difference? Which one is better to use for defining some baggage (not hand one). Thank you in advance


Posted 2014-06-16T10:33:18.473

Reputation: 335



– Damkerng T. – 2014-06-16T10:57:22.903



OALD says both are synonyms.

The pages of baggage and luggage describe:

baggage (especially North American English) = luggage (especially British English)--bags, cases, etc. that contain somebody's clothes and things when they are travelling.

Caution: Though both are synonyms, they are not interchangeable all the time.

"It is important for parents to be aware of the emotional baggage that they bring from childhood into their children's lives"

In this context, baggage cannot be replaced by luggage.

Maulik V

Posted 2014-06-16T10:33:18.473

Reputation: 66 188

2+1. My gut is that the metaphorical meaning of baggage is supplanting the literal meaning. In informal American English, one often just says "bags" (treating "bag" as a count noun.) – hunter – 2014-06-16T12:20:59.177

3I suspect that the baggage/luggage distinction may be in flux. In my region of North American, I rarely hear "baggage" used for talking about items you bring with you for travel. It is almost always "luggage" or "bags". "Baggage" is used almost exclusively for discussing emotional damage. – michelle – 2014-06-16T13:26:00.157

In the southeastern US, it's still common to hear either one. – Panzercrisis – 2014-06-16T15:14:04.050

I agree with @michelle that (at least in the US), you hear "baggage" used less and less in reference to suitcases/valises, and more in the negative sense of unwanted things being brought along (impedimentia). A train may still have a "baggage car", but "luggage" seems to have replaced it in travel by other means. – Phil Perry – 2014-06-16T15:14:56.720