AskDefine | Define briefcase

Dictionary Definition

briefcase n : a case with a handle; for carrying papers or files or books

User Contributed Dictionary



(US) IPA: /ˈbriːfˌkeɪs/


briefcase (plural briefcases)
  1. a case used for carrying documents (especially by business people)



case used for carrying documents

Extensive Definition

A briefcase is a narrow box-shaped bag or case used mainly for carrying papers and other documents and equipped with a handle. Lawyers commonly use briefcases to carry briefs to present to a court, hence the name. Businesspeople and other professionals also use briefcases to carry important papers and, today, laptop computers.
Briefcases are descendants of the limp satchel used in the fourteenth century for carrying money and valuables. It was called a "budget", derived from the Latin word "bulga" or Irish word "bolg", both meaning leather bag, and also the source of the financial term "budget".
Godillot of Paris was the first to use a hinged iron frame on a carpetbag, in 1826. There then followed the Gladstone bag and the Rosebery, an oval-top bag. Eventually these became the modern metal-framed briefcase.

Types of briefcases

  • A portfolio is a handleless case for carrying in the hand or under the arm. The name is an anglicization of the Italian portafoglio, derived from portare (to carry) and foglio (a sheet of paper).
  • A folio case is a portfolio with a retractable handle
  • An attaché case is a box-style case made of leather (occasionally aluminium), stretched over a hinged frame that opens into two compartments. It was traditionally carried by an attaché, a diplomatic officer attached to an embassy or consulate officially assigned to serve in a particular capacity (e.g., cultural attaché; military attaché).

See also

External links

briefcase in Czech: Aktovka
briefcase in German: Tasche
briefcase in Spanish: Maletín
briefcase in Esperanto: Valizeto
briefcase in Dutch: Aktetas
briefcase in Polish: Aktówka
briefcase in Swedish: Portfölj
briefcase in Chinese: 公文包
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