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[kahr-pit-bag-er] /ˈkɑr pɪtˌbæg ər/
U.S. History. a Northerner who went to the South after the Civil War and became active in Republican politics, especially so as to profiteer from the unsettled social and political conditions of the area during Reconstruction.
any opportunistic or exploitive outsider:
Our bus company has served this town for years, but now the new one run by carpetbaggers from the city is stealing our business.
1865-70, Americanism; carpetbag + -er1; so called because they came South carrying their belongings in carpetbags
Related forms
carpetbaggery, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for carpetbagger
  • Instead they brought in a carpetbagger from out of state.
  • Voters are free to consider carpetbagger status in their decision in the voting booth, and that's how it should be.
  • The evil ones are in power, as it was in the carpetbagger and scalawag days.
British Dictionary definitions for carpetbagger


a politician who seeks public office in a locality where he has no real connections
(Brit) a person who makes a short-term investment in a mutual savings or life-assurance organization in order to benefit from free shares issued following the organization's conversion to a public limited company
(US) a Northern White who went to the South after the Civil War to profit from Reconstruction
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for carpetbagger

also carpet-bagger, 1868, American English, scornful appellation for Northerners who went South after the fall of the CSA seeking private gain or political advancement. The name is based on the image of men arriving with all their worldly goods in a big carpetbag. Sense later extended to any opportunist from out of the area.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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