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I'm not an English speaker.

Q1. In my language, a bumbag is called a "waist pouch," and it includes both the bag part and the belt part. The Oxford Learner's Dictionary puts "bumbag is a small bag attached to a belt..." My first question is - a bumbag points only to the bag part or the whole.

Q2. On some websites, Americans say a US fanny pack is called a "bum bag" in the UK. But on-line dictionaries of Oxford, Cambridge, and Collins have no entry for it. They have "bumbag" and do not refer to "bum bag" as an alternative spelling. Is "bum bag" OK in UK, Canada, Australia, or NZ?

(Number of occurrences in US Amazon: "fanny pack" 84,500 / "waist bag" 70,500 / "waist pack" 46,300 / "bum bag" 12,400 / bumbag" 3,350 ; but I do not think this is the actual usage.)

I would appreciate any suggestions.

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  • “Belt pack” is the term I’ve heard.
    – Xanne
    Mar 1, 2021 at 0:00
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    I've never heard it, but it's not a huge distance from "fanny pack".
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 1, 2021 at 0:13
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    A belt pack can be anywhere around the body. It simply attaches to the belt.
    – Xanne
    Mar 1, 2021 at 1:17

1 Answer 1

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As an American who has lived in Australia for a long time, I am familiar with "fanny pack" (AmE) and "bum bag" (BrE). I have always seen "bum bag" as two words.

Note that "fanny" is reasonably crude in BrE and "fanny pack" will usually get a smirk at least ("fanny" = child's term for the female genitals). "Bum" is BrE for the buttocks, above which such a pack is worn.

Americans know the BrE meaning of "bum" but generally associate the word with a lazy person, hobo, or vagrant.

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    For many British speakers, a 'fanny pack' will decode in their heads as an absorbent pad worn by a woman to cope with urinary incontinence or menstrual flow. A 'pack' in a medical context is a gauze pad. Mar 1, 2021 at 7:12
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    "Fanny" is used by many adults too. Mar 1, 2021 at 8:18
  • Many thanks for interesting answer and comments. I see dictionaries present a facet of the living language.
    – user416036
    Mar 5, 2021 at 10:08

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