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A fanny pack (American English) or bum bag (British English) is a small fabric pouch usually secured with a zipper and worn by use of a strap around the hips or waist. The American name derives from the fact that they are often worn with the pouch above the buttocks, for which "fanny" is a slang term in the United States, although they may also be worn with the pouch at the front.
Bags attached to belts have been in use since antiquity in many cultures. One origin was the Native American buffalo pouch which was used instead of sewing pockets into clothing. Buffalo pouches may also be worn on the wrist or carried on the front of the chest via a neck strap or lanyard. The European medieval belt-pouch is another antecedent which was superseded as clothing came to have pockets. The Scottish sporran is a similar belted pouch that survived because of the impracticality of pockets in a kilt.
The modern version made from synthetic materials came into use in the 1980s and they were especially in vogue in the 1990s, but are now often considered old-fashioned. Their use was satirised by the American humorist Weird Al Yankovic in his song White & Nerdy.
In other cultures they are known as belly bags (in Germany) and banana bags (in France). Variations include the wristpack, which is essentially a fanny pack for the wrist.
Medieval painting by the Limbourg brothers showing a lord wearing a belt bag with weapon. c1416.
- Wandahsega, Larissa. "Buffalo Pouch". PotawatomiLanguage.org. Archived from the original on 2015-03-30. Retrieved 2014-07-22.
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- Chris Ewens (1 April 2010). "Pack Mentality: Rethinking the Fanny Pack". usconcealedcarry.com. US Concealed Carry Association. Retrieved 14 June 2013.[permanent dead link]