Definition of purse in English:

purse

noun

  • 1British A small pouch of leather or plastic used for carrying money, typically by a woman.

    ‘she had enough in her purse for bus fare’
    • ‘I did the slow pack and the even slower fumbling in my purse for the exact change but my heart and mind weren't in it.’
    • ‘They escaped with the black bag containing two black leather purses, one with 8p in change and the other a pension card, leaving their victim slightly injured.’
    • ‘In a leather purse was a £5 note, some small notes, and a number of shillings and sixpences above the value of £10.’
    • ‘Mum always carried her purse in her coat pocket in case someone took her bag.’
    • ‘And a ‘Coin Pulse’ is a cross between a coin purse and coin pouch.’
    • ‘With just 12 days until Christmas the great British consumer appears to be keeping her plastic in her purse.’
    • ‘One of the popular sections at the exhibition is the one featuring leather goods such as bags, purses, belts and pouches.’
    • ‘Mrs Wright eventually let go and Farrell fled with the purse and the money.’
    • ‘Visitors are advised to take their purse or plastic.’
    • ‘Hillary's suggestion is to wear your swimsuits, wrap your purse in a plastic bag, carry as little as possible and be prepared to get more than slightly damp.’
    • ‘It goes without saying that shoppers who are ill-advised enough to carry them at all invariably have a purse or wallet bulging with them.’
    • ‘What do you do if you find yourself with a lot of change weighing down your purse / pocket/wallet?’
    • ‘Making a list and eating before you go means you only buy what you really need thus leaving more money in your purse or wallet at the end of your shopping trip.’
    • ‘Merchants ran about, plunging their bejeweled fingers into their bulging leather purses in order to recount their coins every three minutes or so.’
    • ‘To promote products, marketers weigh down favor bags with pounds of free stuff: cosmetics, photo frames, leather purses, spa gift certificates.’
    • ‘Nora, 69, had been paid her pension of around £100 the day before she was attacked and it is likely some of the money was still in the black leather purse.’
    • ‘Do not ride motorcycles at any time during Songkran and keep your purse in a plastic bag unless you like soggy money.’
    • ‘I have inner pockets, coin purses, money clips, a beautiful chrome change machine hanging from a leather strap around my neck.’
    • ‘Police searched his property and found numerous bus tickets, empty purses and wallets.’
    • ‘This full color catalog features Galco's extensive line of fine leather holsters, belts, accessories and artfully crafted leather purses and briefcases.’
    wallet, pouch, money bag
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The money possessed by or available to a person or country.
      ‘institutions are funded from the same general purse’
      • ‘But, in the real world, who exactly is it who has a heavier purse today at my expense?’
      • ‘The United Kingdom budgetary cuts will serve to reduce the purse available to the incumbent ministers.’
      • ‘Layog was suppressing the people and using all of the money from taxes for their own purses instead of the general good.’
      • ‘The judiciary defends the people and the people's purse.’
      • ‘Although such a move could result in lower handle, the net commission to tracks could be higher, which would mean more money for purses.’
      • ‘This huge massed fund was the purse, say the Seagraves, from which the zaibatsu financed Japan's industrial growth after 1946.’
      • ‘Trouble is, their meagre purses / pensions, haven't grown in proportion.’
      • ‘To fatten the purse, each contributes to a mutual fund.’
      • ‘Account wagering would give us more money for purses.’
      • ‘Whether one is in surplus or deficit at the end of the week comes down to one thing: is there any money left in the purse?’
      fund, funds, resources, money, kitty, pool, coffers, bank, treasury, exchequer, finances, wealth, reserves, cash, capital, assets
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A sum of money given as a prize in a sporting contest, especially a boxing match.
      ‘a fight for which his purse was $400,000’
      • ‘Though if you win one or more of those million dollar purses, you would be set for life as an African athlete or anything else!’
      • ‘That night besides the paltry purse, the other thing that was at stake was the Kentucky Heavyweight Championship.’
      • ‘The prize purse will again be over 60,000 baht in cash, gold and other prizes.’
      • ‘Tony not only won the fight but he used the purse to pay off Paulie's debt.’
      • ‘At the height of his boxing career, he sponsored tournaments, provided purses for professional players and played in national tournaments.’
      • ‘The weekend began on Saturday morning with 64 hopeful players making their way through the competition and the prize purse.’
      • ‘The four-race series carries a winner's purse of $1 million.’
      • ‘The men at the table nod to her as she gathers her winnings into her purse and stands.’
      • ‘He says he wants to fight for the big purse so he can buy his family a house.’
      • ‘For a rematch with Ali, Frazier demanded the lion's share of the purse.’
      • ‘After the increases, maiden races at Hawthorne will carry a $28,000 purse.’
      • ‘Put the right money as a prize purse, and you will have the world competing in your backyard.’
      • ‘I mean it's gradually improving, but there's a long way to go to catch up with the purses of the higher weight classes.’
      • ‘Davidoff Cool Water will be continuing its support of free-sports over the next few years, through sponsorship funds and prize purses.’
      • ‘From that point, we knew that Leonard was more than just a pretty face with the golden purse but a true fighter.’
      • ‘His prize was $5m. That's almost five times the prize purse for the Wimbledon Men's Singles champion.’
      • ‘If anything, it was the epic length of the encounter that turned it into some kind of heavyweight contest for a prize purse.’
      • ‘Skyrocketing purses have greatly impacted the importance of judging.’
      • ‘Five other stakes, all with $55,000-added purses, will be contested on the card.’
      • ‘These tournaments have prize purses that, though they don't rival golf yet, are growing every year.’
      prize, award, reward
      View synonyms
  • 2North American A handbag.

    ‘a young woman with a purse hanging from her elbow’
    • ‘Elaine Wagner bumps the car door shut with her hip, her arms full with her purse and a shopping bag almost overflowing with used paperbacks.’
    • ‘Clean out your wallet, your purse and your coat pockets.’
    • ‘Compared to shoulder bags or purses, backpacks are better because the strongest muscles in the body - the back and the abdominal muscles - support the weight of the packs.’
    • ‘We'll see lots of small leather purses with a comfortable sling shoulder strap, elegantly embossed with two or three initials.’
    • ‘Its small size and beefier caliber make it ideal for carry in a purse, pouch or ankle holster.’
    • ‘Police are appealing for witnesses after a thief reached over a pensioner's shoulder and grabbed her purse from her handbag.’
    • ‘But those wielding the power of the purse should be the last to define ‘action’ so narrowly.’
    • ‘Instead of a clutch-style purse, select one with a shoulder strap.’
    • ‘Her ears are pierced, she likes to pull rouge from a plastic purse and brag it across her cheeks.’
    • ‘Grabbing my leather purse, I waved half-heartedly at Lily, trudging after Billy, and down the hallway.’
    • ‘All that changed in an instant when she was handed back her purse and all of its contents.’
    • ‘They made a quick stop at the market, where Barth purchased Linera a leather purse in which she could carry her other dress, and what she may.’
    • ‘A former go-go dancer who now works as his paid informant, she pulls a small Ziploc bag from her purse and slides it across the table.’
    • ‘After putting all of my make-up back in my purse and tying the plastic bag handles in a knot, I climbed out of the van and locked it.’
    • ‘Maria came up with the suggestion that I should get Carah a purse or a bag of some sort, since she always lacked one.’
    • ‘Like the bonbons that line the gilded boxes of Godiva chocolates, their names adorn one storefront after another above displays of leather coats, designer purses and gold bracelets.’
    • ‘So anyone who rides a New York City subway is subject to having their backpack or their purse, whatever the case may be, searched.’
    • ‘A light rain falls on her shoulders as she pulls her purse up by its leather strap and sighs.’
    • ‘A little further ahead, the strong smell of leather assailed the nostrils and the eyes were greeted with the sight of handbags, purses, wallets, key-chains and stuff like that.’
    • ‘Clutch purses and handbags have an elegant, streamlined look, but they're the perfect size to carry all those little necessities.’
    handbag, bag, clutch bag, shoulder bag, evening bag, pochette
    View synonyms

verb

  • (with reference to the lips) pucker or contract, typically to express disapproval or irritation.

    with object ‘Marianne took a glance at her reflection and pursed her lips disgustedly’
    no object ‘under stress his lips would purse slightly’
    • ‘Her lips were pursed and faint wrinkle lines could be made out around her eyes.’
    • ‘Jocelyn wrinkled her chin, pursing her lips, shaking her head, ‘I'm quite all right,’ she lied.’
    • ‘I withdrew, my lips pursing slightly, and I removed my arm from his jumper.’
    • ‘If someone has their arms crossed and their lips are pursed disapprovingly, it's a fairly safe bet they are on the defensive.’
    • ‘‘You know, I think that's a good idea,’ Lethya said, pursing her lips and laying on the sarcasm.’
    • ‘Her black-glossed lips were pursed into a pout as she pointed her pen to an empty page in front of her.’
    • ‘His aides, through pursed lips, maintained that the substance of the dossier remained valuable.’
    • ‘Sean's lips pursed and his hands tightened as he struggled to contain his composure.’
    • ‘Devon's jaw dropped slightly and then quickly pursed them together, forming a grim line.’
    • ‘She clenched her hands tightly, pursing her lips.’
    • ‘He asked, pursing his lips as if threatening me.’
    • ‘Julius smiled weakly, pursing his lips as he replied.’
    • ‘When the jury revealed its verdict on Ingram, he made no response other than pursing his lips and slightly shaking his head.’
    • ‘There was a picture of him throwing the ball, his arm slung back and his lips slightly pursed.’
    • ‘Leslie didn't say anything, so I knew she'd drop it, but I bet if I could've seen her right then, she would have been pursing her lips.’
    • ‘Garner looks terribly serious, her plump lips pursed into a parody of determination.’
    • ‘Perhaps, it was the way he lifted his glass, pursing his shiny lips ever so slightly.’
    • ‘There was a pause as Kat stared at him, her lips pursing together slightly.’
    • ‘The art of clamping your teeth together whilst sucking air through them without pursing your lips isn't easily learned, but its mastery has brought me a great deal of satisfaction.’
    • ‘Her lips tightened, pursing together, forming a thin pink line across her perfect, porcelain features.’
    press together, compress, contract, tighten, pucker, screw up, wrinkle, pout
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • hold the purse strings

    • Have control of expenditure.

      ‘the power and the influence lie with the person who holds the purse strings’
      • ‘The lowest quote was usually chosen by the board of governors, who held the purse strings, which was seen as ‘best value’.’
      • ‘The twist is, of course, that the amateurs hold the purse strings.’
      • ‘He looks as if he's fully aware that he has been holding the purse strings during a period of unprecedented revenue, unprecedented spending and unprecedented pork barrelling.’
      • ‘However, by holding the purse strings, the university administration can easily usurp faculty roles by supporting the hiring and promotion of only those whose fields are likely to bring in the most money.’
      • ‘The vision and the plan must also be convincing to Congress, the one holding the purse strings for the government's role.’
      • ‘A west Wiltshire student has just been given the chance to hold the purse strings to a massive student budget, after she was voted onto the Students Union board at university.’
      • ‘One way of testing whether it really is true that who holds the purse strings controls how the money is spent, is to look at what happens when income is transferred from husbands to wives.’
      • ‘‘This also sends a strong message to the people who hold the purse strings with regard to County Council funding’, he said.’
      • ‘Now tough negotiations are going on with the Primary Care Trusts - which hold the purse strings for all health services in Greater Manchester.’
      • ‘Mr Lillycrop, who has complete sympathy for under pressure dentists, pleaded with those who hold the purse strings, to deal with the problem.’
  • tighten (or loosen) the purse strings

    • Restrict (or increase) the amount of money available to be spent.

      ‘the job losses were the result of a tightening of the purse strings throughout the Civil Service’
      • ‘When a club has to tighten the purse strings, that's when teams that do have a bit of money will be thinking they can pick up a couple of bargains and they'll all be sniffing about.’
      • ‘Top-quality painters are further cursed by the fact that the painting phase occurs toward the end of most projects, when overextended owners are most likely to start tightening the purse strings.’
      • ‘It remains to be seen whether consumers tighten the purse strings even further or continue to spend.’
      • ‘It's all heartening stuff for investors, even if fans of the Bhoys would prefer Desmond to loosen the purse strings and strengthen the squad.’
      • ‘The Scottish Executive wants to set an example by tightening the purse strings and understanding some economics.’
      • ‘Thanks to the boost in attendance, the ownership group loosened the purse strings and went after some free agents.’
      • ‘We're asking the Prime Minister to loosen the purse strings and though we've said we don't want confrontation, we're heading towards strike action.’
      • ‘Kennet District Council is already warning councillors that it will have to tighten the purse strings for the next financial year.’
      • ‘Banks and other investors tend to loosen the purse strings when business owners throw some of their own money into the mix.’
      • ‘Now that we are back in funds, loosening the purse strings again, you have more credibility if it is somebody else.’

Origin

Late Old English, alteration of late Latin bursa ‘purse’, from Greek bursa ‘hide, leather’. The current verb sense (from the notion of drawing purse strings) dates from the early 17th century.

Pronunciation

purse

/pəːs/