from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To rob (a town, for example) of goods or valuables, especially after capture.
  • noun The looting or pillaging of a captured city or town.
  • noun Any of various light, dry, strong wines from Spain and the Canary Islands, imported to England in the 1500s and 1600s.
  • noun A bag, especially one made of strong material for holding grain or objects in bulk.
  • noun The amount that a sack can hold.
  • noun A short loose-fitting garment for women and children.
  • noun Slang Dismissal from employment.
  • noun Informal A bed, mattress, or sleeping bag.
  • noun Baseball A base.
  • noun Football A successful attempt at sacking the quarterback.
  • transitive verb To place into a sack.
  • transitive verb Slang To discharge from employment: synonym: dismiss.
  • transitive verb Football To tackle (a quarterback attempting to pass the ball) behind the line of scrimmage.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Originally, one of the strong light-colored wines brought to England from the south, as from Spain and the Canary Islands, especially those which were dry and rough.
  • noun The plundering of a city or town after storming and capture; plunder; pillage: as, the sack of Magdeburg.
  • noun The plunder or booty so obtained; spoil; loot.
  • To plunder or pillage after storming and taking: as, to sack a house or a town.
  • To put into sacks or bags, for preservation or transportation: as, to sack grain or salt.
  • To inclose as in a bag; cover or incase as with a sack.
  • To heap or pile as by sackfuls.
  • To give the sack or bag to; discharge or dismiss from office, employment, etc.; also, to reject the suit of: as, to sack a lover.
  • noun A bag; especially, a large bag, usually made of coarse hempen or linen cloth. (See sackcloth.) Sacks are used to contain grain, flour, salt, etc., potatoes and other vegetables, and coal.
  • noun A unit of dry measure.
  • noun Sackcloth; sacking.
  • noun [Also spelled sacque.] A gown of a peculiar form which was first introduced from France into England toward the close of the seventeenth century, and continued to be fashionable throughout the greater part of the eighteenth, century.
  • noun The loose straight back itself. The term seems to have been used in this sense in the eighteenth century.
  • noun [Also spelled sacque.] A kind of jacket or short coat, cut round at the bottom, fitting the body more or less closely, worn at the present day by both men and women: as, a sealskin sack; a sack-coat.
  • noun In anatomy and zoology, a sac or saccule.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A name formerly given to various dry Spanish wines.
  • noun a posset made of sack, and some other ingredients.
  • noun A bag for holding and carrying goods of any kind; a receptacle made of some kind of pliable material, as cloth, leather, and the like; a large pouch.
  • noun A measure of varying capacity, according to local usage and the substance. The American sack of salt is 215 pounds; the sack of wheat, two bushels.
  • noun Originally, a loosely hanging garment for women, worn like a cloak about the shoulders, and serving as a decorative appendage to the gown; now, an outer garment with sleeves, worn by women.
  • noun A sack coat; a kind of coat worn by men, and extending from top to bottom without a cross seam.
  • noun (Biol.) See 2d Sac, 2.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Basket worm, under Basket.
  • noun (Bot.) an East Indian tree (Antiaris saccidora) which is cut into lengths, and made into sacks by turning the bark inside out, and leaving a slice of the wood for a bottom.
  • noun [Slang] to discharge, or be discharged, from employment; to jilt, or be jilted.
  • noun [Slang] to go to bed.
  • transitive verb To plunder or pillage, as a town or city; to devastate; to ravage.
  • transitive verb To put in a sack; to bag.
  • transitive verb colloq. To bear or carry in a sack upon the back or the shoulders.
  • noun The pillage or plunder, as of a town or city; the storm and plunder of a town; devastation; ravage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun dated A variety of light-colored dry wine from Spain or the Canary Islands; also, any strong white wine from southern Europe; sherry.
  • noun A bag; especially a large bag of strong, coarse material for storage and handling of various commodities, such as potatoes, coal, coffee; or, a bag with handles used at a supermarket, a grocery sack; or, a small bag for small items, a satchel.
  • noun The amount a sack holds; also, an archaic or historical measure of varying capacity, depending on commodity type and according to local usage; an old English measure of weight, usually of wool, equal to 13 stone (182 pounds), or in other sources, 26 stone (364 pounds).
  • noun uncountable The plunder and pillaging of a captured town or city.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English sacc, from Latin saccus, from Greek sakkos, of Semitic origin; see śqq in Semitic roots.
Probably from French (mettre à) sac, (to put in) a sack, from Old French sac, sack, from Latin saccus, sack, bag; see sack1.
From French (vin) sec, dry (wine), from Old French, from Latin siccus, dry.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English sak ("bag, sackcloth"), from Old English sacc ("sack, bag") and Old English sæcc ("sackcloth, sacking"); both from Proto-Germanic *sakkuz (“sack”), from Latin saccus ("large bag"), from Ancient Greek σάκκος (sákkos, "bag of coarse cloth"), via Phoenician, from Ancient Egyptian 𓆷𓈎𓄜 (sAq, "sack"). Cognate with Dutch zak, German Sack, Swedish säck, Hebrew שַׂק (śaq), Akkadian 𒆭𒊓 (saqqu).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From earlier (wyne) seck, from Middle French (vin) sec ("dry (wine)"), from Latin siccus ("dry")


  • He would be what you called sack because he was mad, and they would send him to an asylum for lunatics.

    The Phantom Rickshaw and Other Ghost Stories

  • European countries, as long as their histories have existed; besides the similarity of the texture of their languages, and of many words in them; thus the word sack is said to mean

    Canto I

  • Or should we just all conclude that "Bart" 's an unrepentant, unshamable lyin 'sack'o'sh*te and get on with what we need to do ....


  • "You don't want to force a pass so sometimes taking a sack is the best thing, so I was just trying to be smart with the football."

    With little time to prepare, Beck did what he could against Bills

  • And what we learned from that note, the fact that they had fuel, that they had food, ropes, a shovel and a bibby-sack, which is used to -- almost like a sleeping bag, but with several layers.

    CNN Transcript Dec 15, 2006

  • In addition to the fact they shared a paracardial sack, which is the lining outside of the heart, they also had a shared liver and a shared diaphragm, but we were able to easily surgically separate those shared organs, and the rest of the entire time in the operating room was spent by reconstructing them and putting them individually back together.

    CNN Transcript Sep 5, 2002

  • At the bottom of the sack was a print dress made of some slippery material'rayon, perhaps.

    Borrowed Finery, A Memoir

  • He never touched it or did anything to call, attention to it, but his body moved as if the plow inside the sack were the fulcrum of his balance.

    Alvin Journeyman

  • At the bottom of the sack was a grey plastic bag which was tied tightly with clumsily knotted string and held something heavy.

    Hard Frost

  • That made us guess the sack was the one that Fellows himself had hidden in the river - so we took all the clothes home.

    The Mystery of the Strange Bundle


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  • faced the sack means to be dismiss, be fired

    November 16, 2010

  • I think this used to mean sherry, more specifically.

    December 22, 2007

  • Contronymic in the sense: collect vs. get rid of (fire).

    January 27, 2007

  • wine!

    December 6, 2006