Definition of cutpurse in English:



  • A pickpocket or thief.

    • ‘Beginning in sixteenth-century England, a distinct criminal culture of rogues, vagabonds, gypsies, beggars, cony-catchers, cutpurses, and prostitutes emerged and flourished.’
    • ‘Those who visited London's suburban playhouses would have travelled through districts where prostitutes operated, and the theatres themselves were often thought to be a haunt of cutpurses.’
    • ‘He watched as the cutpurse found another satchel to set his eye upon, but this man was not as absent in mind as his fellow merchants.’
    • ‘Not even the moon shone on the black, starless night and the woman picked her way carefully across the city, keeping a wary eye out for cutpurses and nocturnal pickpockets.’
    • ‘A day later it appears we have made the right decision, we crept along tunnels for a while, sneaking not like the hallowed warriors we trained to be, but like cutpurses and cowards.’
    • ‘His traveling companion, he learned later, was a cutpurse who had fled justice, only to be caught soon after his arrival in Lund and summarily hanged.’
    • ‘I'm the apothecary, the cutpurse, and the maid.’
    • ‘It got more complicated in that men escorting women stood away from the walls to protect the women from getting splashed with mud from passing carriages, but this left them open to being robbed by cutpurses hiding in side alleys.’
    • ‘Is the statute's description of the society of cutpurses an accurate appraisal, or an attempt to link them with another outlawed culture?’
    • ‘Pleas of the crown should also be heard at these sessions, before bailiffs and coroners, except for cases of cutpurses and thieves caught redhanded or arrested upon complaint of a visiting outsider (as in the time of fair or market).’
    • ‘You might remember Amanda, the comely cutpurse who periodically dropped by to complicate Duncan MacLeod's life.’
    • ‘There, training of every sort took place, from that of the humble cutpurse, to specialist thieves who employed magic to enhance their talents at burglary.’


Late Middle English: with reference to stealing by cutting purses suspended from a waistband.