What does the phrase "What's your bag?" mean in the following 2 sentences:

I tweeted to the Yahoo help center, and they replied:
- Hey man, what's your bag?

At a party, someone asked me:
- So, what's your bag?

I know the first sentence means that Yahoo was trying to find out the problem I was having.

But The second sentence is confusing me. I went to a party, and there someone asked me "So what's your bag?" but I did not have any problem and I did not ask for help.

Can you explain what the second sentence represents?

  • 1
    Why didn't you ask him? If someone speaks in riddles, it is normal to ask what he means.
    – rogermue
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 17:38
  • In the expression "What's your bag?" the meaning is likely "What's your 'thing'?" or "What things do you really like?" Though there are likely contexts where it could have a different meaning.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 17:53
  • 2
    That's not my bag, baby!
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 19:32

6 Answers 6


I would interpret this anachronistic question as hipster-speak for:

So, what are your interests, employment, education, religion, and/or life goals?

Basically this person is trying to determine whether you would make a valuable acquaintance or possibly sexual partner based on mutual interests.

  • 1
    All the answers are valid, this seems to be the most inclusive answer.
    – Arluin
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 23:22

It is a slang expression from the 60's:


  • To Steal. Example: Who bagged my towel? ;
  • Also; "What's your bag" meaning what's your problem or where are you coming from.


For the second sentence it may refer to:


  • Slang An area of interest or skill: Cooking is not my bag.


  • thanks for the reply. so ,someome at the party was trying to know where I came from? my location?
    – Amit Verma
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 14:06
  • 2
    I can't tell what the conversation was about, I think the person was asking about your personal interests, preferences etc.
    – user66974
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 14:08
  • I would say another similar phrase would be "What are you into?"
    – user1359
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 16:02

I remember hearing that phrase as a little girl. I recall it as a metaphor for someone's world view, meaning each of us is limited to the things we perceive in our own life, which is like a bag we live inside in. I recall hearing there was a "happening" in Greenwhich Village where people actually got into huge bags to physically experience the social isolation our metaphorical bags put us each in. I was in the Village yesterday and that it what brought the phrase back to mind. I wasn't sure if anyone still used the phrase.

  • Would be lovely to know when you heard this expression. Was it the 1960s or 70s?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 11:54
  • There's also a typo in Greenwich Village NYC. I hope you come back and fix it. I'll wait for you! :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 11:56
  • The American R&B singer James Brown released "Papa's got a Brand New Bag" in 1965. The tune was on the top ten for several weeks. The lyrics were about an older man who was facile at all the dances that were then popular with American teenagers. The sense of "bag" was outlook on life.
    – Theresa
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 18:44

At the party, someone asked me: - So, what's your bag?

They are asking - who are you and what do you have to offer. In other words what do you do. It is another way of saying "What's your gig".

  • What do I do? was it an inquiry into my occupation? or something else?
    – Amit Verma
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 14:27
  • @Starkeen What is your occupation or areas of interest.
    – DSarkar
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 19:27
  • @starkeen It would only refer to your occupation if you were emotionally involved in your work. If you were an aspiring musician but were working as a fast food assistant in order to pay the bills your bag would be music, not McDonalds. However if you were totally committed to McDonalds and only studying music to please your parents your bag would be fast food.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 15:43

It means: "What do you like to do?". It can also mean, "What do you do for bread?". Lastly, it can also mean, "You seem to be wired a bit left of center, judging by your clothes, hair, music, bumper stickers, psychedelic van, laid back attitude ... smell or whatever... hehe ... so what is that all about?"

Have a hippie day!


Depending on the type of party it can mean "what are you buzzing on", what do you have,what kind of weed,and as simple as job,music etc. Depending on who you're hanging out with!

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