Manifesto Multilinko
Interesting links and notes on updates to my main website.

[add RSS feed][add RSS feed]

[to search, use Blogger search in top bar]

Wednesday, December 02, 2009
The Satchel Problem

The answer to the question "is a satchel a messenger bag?" turns out to be quite complex.

In the strictest definitions, no. In more common definitions, yes.

The most narrow definition of a satchel is a leather, soft-sided case for books and papers. Often with a strap.
The most narrow definition of a messenger bag is a custom-formed bag that curves against the upper back, with a single strap that runs across the chest.

These are distinguished from a briefcase (a hard-sided case that never has a strap) and a backpack (a bag with two straps that hangs against the centre of your back).

However, in common use "satchel" encompasses many satchel-like bags, and messenger bag now includes almost any bag with a strap that hangs at your side that is not a purse.

In this loose definition, some satchels are messenger bags.

There is not actually a commonly-used English word for non-satchel, non-messenger bags that have a strap and hang at the side, although I would argue for clarity purposes there really should be. MEC calls them generically "shoulder bags", which I suppose is fair enough although in general use easily confused with purse. They call many of them "carryalls" as well, another term that is sadly lacking in a clear definition.