One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A flat, square, fabric-covered case in which a folded corporal 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.’
- ‘Upon these burses much ornamentation is lavished, and this has been the case since medieval times, as many existing examples survive to show.’
- ‘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.’
Late Middle English (in sense ‘purse’): from French bourse or medieval Latin bursa (see bourse, bursa).
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