One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A flat, square, fabric-covered case in which a folded corporal cloth is carried to and from an altar in church.
- ‘In Roman form the burse is ordinarily made of two juxtaposed pieces of cardboard about twenty-five centimetres (or ten inches) square, bound together at three edges, leaving the fourth open to receive the corporal.’
- ‘He or she may make use of a lavabo in preparation for the celebration, and the chalice and paten may be initially concealed by a burse and ornamental veil.’
- ‘Upon these burses much ornamentation is lavished, and this has been the case since medieval times, as many existing examples survive to show.’
2historical The Royal Exchange in Cornhill, London.Compare with bourse
Late Middle English (in sense ‘purse’): from French bourse or medieval Latin bursa (see bourse, bursa).
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