Gas bag

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 27, 2005

In Reply to: Gas bag posted by Lisa on April 27, 2005

: I would like to know the origin of the phrase "gas bagging", now used to describe talking a lot.

Gas bag, as a noun meaning someone full of hot air, or inclined to make a lot of empty talk, was common by the middle of the 19th century. Balloons were well known by then, although not so much so as in the next century. The verb, to gas, also had the meaning, used of people, as emitting hot air or empty talk. It is also used to mean making conversation, as in "They were just sitting around gassing." It was widely used in the 19th century, by Kipling among others, and I much prefer it, when a verb is needed, over "gas-bag."