a flat, rectangular case with a handle, often of leather, for carrying books, papers, etc.

1925–30; brief (noun) + case2

briefcase, handbag, pocketbook, purse, valise, wallet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
briefcase (ˈbriːfˌkeɪs)
a flat portable case, often of leather, for carrying papers, books, etc

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"portable folding case for holding papers," 1926, from brief in the paper sense + case.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

briefcase definition

A Win95/WinNT utility for keeping files on two computers without permanent connection in sync.
The scenario briefcase was designed for is the combination of an office computer and a portable one. You connect the two before leaving your office, create a briefcase on the portable (if you don't already have one on it), then copy the files you want to work on while away into the briefcase. You can at this point disconnect the two computers, take the portable with you and work on the files in the briefcase at home or on the road. When you get back to your office the briefcase utility can automatically update the files you changed on the office computer.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
And he saluted this spot on the monument, then picked up his briefcase and went
  off to work.
Commuter in suit w/ briefcase cannot stop himself or change course fast enough
  and slams into her.
His metal briefcase had set off a security alarm during a routine baggage
It will live in your briefcase, your pocket and your hand.
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