Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nosebag n.

[SE nosebag]

1. (also nosebagger) a day-tripper to the seaside who takes their own provisions and thus makes no useful contribution to the local economy.

[UK]Lloyds’ List 24 Nov. in Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era (1909) 183/2: ‘Last season was a bad one; there were plenty of visitors, but nearly all “nosebaggers” – people who come for the day and bring their own provisions,’ said a Southend butcher in his examination at the Chelmsford Bankruptcy Court.
[UK]Hotten Dict. Modern Sl., Cant etc. (2nd edn) 181: NOSE-BAGS visitors at watering places, and houses of refreshment, who carry their own victuals.
[UK]Sl. Dict.

2. a veil.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 803: ca. 1865–1915.

3. a handbag.

[UK]Cornhill Mag. Apr. 370: So I yesterday packed up my nosebag, and away I posted down to Aldgate [F&H].

4. a hospitable hotel or lodging-house.

[UK]Daily News 22 Dec. in Ware (1909) 183/2: ‘These gulls’, remarked the keeper before referred to, ‘come now in larger numbers from year to year. The fact is they are like a good many of the people you see walking about – if they once find out where there’s a good nose-bag they take care to be near it.’.

5. (Aus.) a bag in which an itinerant or swagman n.2 carries his provisions.

[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Stragglers’ in Roderick (1972) 93: Three times a day the black billies and cloudy nose-bags are placed on the table.
[Aus]Morn. Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld) 25 Sept. 3/4: This miscellaneous assortment when compactly rolled up in a cylindrical shape [...] ‘nosebag,’ he denominates indifferently a ‘drum,’ a ‘bluey,’ ‘the curse,’ or, satirically, a ‘little parcel,’ or affectionately ‘Matilda’. If its dimensions are small [he] contemptuously alludes to it as a ‘Condaminer’.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Romance of the Swag’ in Roderick (1972) 501: To the top strap fasten the string of the nose-bag, a calico bag, about the size of a pillow-slip, containing the tea, sugar, and flour bags, bread, meat, baking-powder, salt, etc.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 2 Nov. 11/3: Our Wonderland of Wheat [headline] A Nation’s Nosebag.
[Aus] Anonymous ‘The Dying Bagman’ in Seal (1999) 96: A strapping young bagman lay dying / His nosebag supporting his head.

6. food, spec. as served in a restaurant; a meal.

[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘A Dangerous Dad’ Sporting Times 3 Feb. 1/4: ’E’s a right to ’is share of the nosebag and trough.
[US]K. McGaffey Sorrows of a Show Girl Ch. ii: I climb into the nosebag without a peep.
A. Baer Short & Sour 17 May [synd. col.] Twenty Big Berthas [...] organized a Skinny Club and cut ’emselves down to three nosebags a day.
[US]J. Archibald ‘It Could Only Happen to Willie’ in Popular Detective Apr. [Internet] I got to know how to ask my dame out to dinner tonight correct instead of sayin’ ‘How’s about the nosebag, Babe?’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK]A. Payne ‘Senior Citizen Caine’ Minder [TV script] 65: Thought I’d rustle up some nose bag.
[Ire]J. O’Connor Secret World of the Irish Male (1995) 207: Davo and myself go for what is called in vulgar circles a good nosebag in a posh French restaurant.
[Ire]P. Howard Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress 25: The fockers put about eight hundred lids worth of booze on my tab, not to mention nosebag.

7. a gasmask.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 803: 1915–18.

8. a bag of food (given to an itinerant), a lunch box, a (take-away) meal.

[US] letter 7 Mar. in T. Hughes Gone To Texas (1884) 63: I had just laid in a nose-bag full of grub [...] and was peckish.
[UK]H. King Savage London 26: Yer don’t need to carry a nosebag when yer goes out of a night, for yer can stow away enough fer a week at wonst.
[UK]E. Pugh Harry The Cockney 49: My nose-bag consisted of some sweets and an apple, or some other fruit, and a biscuit with some coloured sugar on it.
[UK]Wodehouse Carry on, Jeeves 135: Biffy’s man came in with the nose-bags and we sat down to lunch.
[Aus]Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld) 12 Dec. 6s/3: Give me your nose-bags so that I can fill them with good tucker.
[US]N. Klein ‘Hobo Lingo’ in AS I:12 652: Nose-bag—lunch handed out in paper bag.
[US](con. c.1910) S.H. Holbrook Holy Old Mackinaw 192: A nosebag show is one where midday lunch is eaten not at camp but out of dinner buckets.
[US]F.H. Hubbard Railroad Avenue 353: Nosebag – Lunch carried to work.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 163: nose bag [...] a meal given a beggar.
[US](con. 1920s–40s) in J.L. Kornbluh Rebel Voices 407: Nose bag – lunch pail; lunch served in a paper bag or pail.
[UK](con. 1954) J. McGrath Events While Guarding the Bofors Gun I ii: Nosebag-time, Gunner Rowe.
[UK]M. Newall ‘Sir Gawayne and the Grene Knyght’ in Indep. Weekend Rev. 26 Dec. 1: But nobody wantes a rukke bifore the nosebagge arrives.

9. in fig. use, cocaine.

[UK]J. Niven Kill Your Friends (2009) 73: Off his nut on the nosebag.

In compounds

nosebag crowd (n.)

holiday-makers who take their own provisions to a resort.

Daily Chron. 4 Aug. 3/4: Neither was it, as one of Messrs. Lyons’s managers observed with appreciation, a ‘nose-bag’ crowd .

In phrases

put on the nosebag (v.) (also get the nosebag on, put the nosebag on)

to eat.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 239: To ‘put on the nose-bag’ is to eat hurriedly, or to eat while continuing at work.
[UK]A. Binstead Mop Fair 116: Beg a thousand pardons for disturbin’ you with the nosebag on.
A. Baer Bugs Baer Says 29 Nov. [synd. col.] No honest man can afford to put the nose-bag on nowadays.
[US]R. Lardner Big Town 201: We couldn’t stop to put on the nose bag at the Graham because the women was scared we’d be too late to get tickets.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Crash on Delivery’ in Flying Aces Nov. [Internet] Sit down an’ manjay. That’s Frog language for puttin’ on the nose bag.
[UK]J. Worby Other Half 114: He pulled up at a large, brightly lit-up café [...] ‘Come on then!’ he said. ‘Get yur nose-bags on!’.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Suicide Stunt’ Speed Detective Apr. [Internet] Let’s go to the commissary and put on the nose bag.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 204: Time to put the nosebag on.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ Cop This Lot 143: ‘What time is it?’ Joe looked at his watch. ‘Nearly ’alf past. ’Bout time we put the nose bag on.’.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 2: I’m putting on the nosebag with Sir Roderick Glossop.
[US](con. 1916) G. Swarthout Tin Lizzie Troop (1978) 54: I’ll be happy to put on the nose bag.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 14: The Beecham was again on his Pat Malone. He decided it was bird shit lime to put the nose bag on for some munga.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 129: We [...] headed for the main drag to put the nose bag on and get a flop for the night.
[Aus]T. Peacock More You Bet 18: The punter might also purchase ‘a bite to eat’ (which might be described as ‘putting on the nosebag’).