Definition of carpetbagger in English:


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  • 1 informal, derogatory A political candidate who seeks election in an area where they have no local connections.

    • ‘What struck me most in conversations with several dozen volunteers, carpetbaggers and locals alike, was the almost uniform answer they gave when I asked if they had ever worked on a national political campaign: No.’
    • ‘Yet such a huge amount of cash will ensure the company remains a target for carpetbaggers, with policyholders potentially benefiting from ever-larger windfalls were the Edinburgh-based insurer to float.’
    • ‘The recent fight with carpetbaggers cost policyholders several million pounds.’
    • ‘As far as he's concerned, anyone participating in them is a carpetbagger, an allusion to exiled politicians whom he expects to be the regime's most prominent figures.’
    • ‘But as an unknown to many of his would be constituents, he was branded a carpetbagger and a wealthy outsider.’
    • ‘The carpetbaggers who streamed into the South for political and economic gain aggravated the wounds which the war had opened.’
    • ‘There are a lot of carpetbaggers and scam-artists operating in southern Africa and by telephone from offshore bases.’
    • ‘After all, these people could not be portrayed as carpetbaggers or outside agitators.’
    • ‘A candidate in Kansas may score points by accusing his opponent of being a carpetbagger.’
    • ‘He looked to some like a carpetbagger who knew nothing about the constituency - and he was not a Catholic, as many in the local party are.’
    1. 1.1 historical (in the US) a person from the northern states who went to the South after the Civil War to profit from the Reconstruction.
      ‘During Reconstruction, carpetbaggers were shifty characters who trolled the country, meddling where they weren't really wanted.’
      • ‘Like carpetbaggers heading into the South in the 1870s, overseas coaches and players streamed into what was now a ripe arena of reconstruction.’
      • ‘The carpetbaggers of the South are looting the world as a whole.’
      • ‘The archetypal carpetbagger would have quickly profited by selling the free shares immediately.’
      • ‘This was around the time of Reconstruction, when many southern blacks and carpetbaggers had the opportunity to replace white southerners in positions of power.’
    2. 1.2A person perceived as an unscrupulous opportunist.
      ‘the organization is rife with carpetbaggers’
      • ‘And horror of horrors, she's his assistant district attorney and a party member - a backstabbing female carpetbagger.’
      • ‘This memoir is her best opportunity to date to alter the images: Lady Macbeth, Joan of Arc, feminist extremist, ambitious carpetbagger, aggrieved wife.’
      • ‘He has often assumed the role of carpetbagger in his business dealings.’
      • ‘His desire to be the best and to race in top equipment has been mistaken for arrogance - just another cart carpetbagger trying to reinvent the wheel.’
      • ‘I mean, how much of this is real groundswell and how much is just the fact that we've got a bunch of carpetbagger English journalists taking over our media?’
      • ‘It became clear towards the end of the campaign that the carpetbagger and his supporters were in a position to strip the company of many millions of pounds.’
      • ‘Yet it was - strangely enough - talking to him, our surprisingly friendly carpetbagger, that finally changed my mind.’
      • ‘The vote spelled the end of carpetbagger Smith's campaign - for the time being at least.’
      • ‘The fund manager-turned carpetbagger stands to make around #300,000 if his plans are successful.’



/ˈkärpətˌbaɡər/ /ˈkɑrpətˌbæɡər/


Mid 19th century originally applied to people from the northern states of the US who went to the South after the Civil War to profit from the Reconstruction.