Definition of purse in US English:

purse

noun

North American
  • 1A small bag used especially by a woman to carry everyday personal items.

    • ‘In fact, I think the one I've been carrying around in my purse qualifies for some kind of longevity award.’
    • ‘A few years later, my mother's purse was snatched by someone who was also, coincidentally, younger and larger than she was.’
    • ‘In fact, some of those canvas grocery bags are just fine as everyday casual purses.’
    • ‘If you have on all solid colors, try a printed bucket hat or interesting-looking purse or cool cuff bracelet.’
    • ‘My grandmother's gorgeous beaded purse from the thirties that I was so happy to retrieve doesn't actually match my dress.’
    • ‘While walking with a ‘female companion’ they were approached by two men who grabbed at the woman's purse.’
    • ‘This is a great little pistol that can be carried everyday in a purse or holster.’
    • ‘On the day Pipes made his case in person, no purses or backpacks were allowed into the lecture hall for security reasons.’
    • ‘As I transferred the contents from my old purse into the new one, I wondered why I even bother carrying a purse.’
    • ‘She carried a square black purse with twin handles like the one my grandmother used and her straight, plain skirt fell just below the knee.’
    • ‘She looked like a Mom, frazzled blond hair and a bulging woven purse.’
    • ‘Pockets and purses are emptied, personal belongings are sealed away in plastic bags and a list of these belongings is verified and signed by both the driver and a morgue employee on duty.’
    • ‘The things people carry in their purses these days.’
    • ‘I've always wanted to know whether every monster in the world carried a little pink purse with them or something.’
    • ‘The practice of ransacking the wife's purse, reading her personal diary, and fumbling into husbands' wallet is quite common.’
    • ‘Almost every woman I know wants an authentic designer purse - including me.’
    • ‘In more modern times however the bride carried the Dorothy Bag as a small purse with some personal effects.’
    • ‘Just like when we kids would try to rummage through her purse for something - you learned fast that you didn't go into my mom's purse.’
    • ‘Joey examined every detail of each purse hanging on the pegs above him.’
    • ‘I carried it in my purse with me wherever I went for the next two days in a Manila folder as proof of my newly found street cred.’
    handbag, bag, clutch bag, shoulder bag, evening bag, pochette
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A small pouch of leather or plastic used for carrying money, typically by a woman.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mrs Wright eventually let go and Farrell fled with the purse and the money.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With just 12 days until Christmas the great British consumer appears to be keeping her plastic in her purse.’
      • ‘Do not ride motorcycles at any time during Songkran and keep your purse in a plastic bag unless you like soggy money.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One of the popular sections at the exhibition is the one featuring leather goods such as bags, purses, belts and pouches.’
      • ‘In a leather purse was a £5 note, some small notes, and a number of shillings and sixpences above the value of £10.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This full color catalog features Galco's extensive line of fine leather holsters, belts, accessories and artfully crafted leather purses and briefcases.’
      • ‘To promote products, marketers weigh down favor bags with pounds of free stuff: cosmetics, photo frames, leather purses, spa gift certificates.’
      • ‘Merchants ran about, plunging their bejeweled fingers into their bulging leather purses in order to recount their coins every three minutes or so.’
      • ‘Visitors are advised to take their purse or plastic.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      wallet, pouch, money bag
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 The money possessed or available to a person or country.
      ‘institutions are funded from the same general purse’
      • ‘This huge massed fund was the purse, say the Seagraves, from which the zaibatsu financed Japan's industrial growth after 1946.’
      • ‘To fatten the purse, each contributes to a mutual fund.’
      • ‘Although such a move could result in lower handle, the net commission to tracks could be higher, which would mean more money for purses.’
      • ‘Layog was suppressing the people and using all of the money from taxes for their own purses instead of the general good.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Trouble is, their meagre purses / pensions, haven't grown in proportion.’
      • ‘The United Kingdom budgetary cuts will serve to reduce the purse available to the incumbent ministers.’
      • ‘But, in the real world, who exactly is it who has a heavier purse today at my expense?’
      • ‘The judiciary defends the people and the people's purse.’
      fund, funds, resources, money, kitty, pool, coffers, bank, treasury, exchequer, finances, wealth, reserves, cash, capital, assets
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A sum of money given as a prize in a sporting contest, especially a boxing match.
      • ‘That night besides the paltry purse, the other thing that was at stake was the Kentucky Heavyweight Championship.’
      • ‘Put the right money as a prize purse, and you will have the world competing in your backyard.’
      • ‘The weekend began on Saturday morning with 64 hopeful players making their way through the competition and the prize purse.’
      • ‘The men at the table nod to her as she gathers her winnings into her purse and stands.’
      • ‘These tournaments have prize purses that, though they don't rival golf yet, are growing every year.’
      • ‘His prize was $5m. That's almost five times the prize purse for the Wimbledon Men's Singles champion.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Tony not only won the fight but he used the purse to pay off Paulie's debt.’
      • ‘Skyrocketing purses have greatly impacted the importance of judging.’
      • ‘The prize purse will again be over 60,000 baht in cash, gold and other prizes.’
      • ‘If anything, it was the epic length of the encounter that turned it into some kind of heavyweight contest for a prize purse.’
      • ‘After the increases, maiden races at Hawthorne will carry a $28,000 purse.’
      • ‘For a rematch with Ali, Frazier demanded the lion's share of the purse.’
      • ‘He says he wants to fight for the big purse so he can buy his family a house.’
      • ‘The four-race series carries a winner's purse of $1 million.’
      • ‘Five other stakes, all with $55,000-added purses, will be contested on the card.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘From that point, we knew that Leonard was more than just a pretty face with the golden purse but a true fighter.’
      • ‘Davidoff Cool Water will be continuing its support of free-sports over the next few years, through sponsorship funds and prize purses.’
      • ‘At the height of his boxing career, he sponsored tournaments, provided purses for professional players and played in national tournaments.’
      prize, award, reward
      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’
    • ‘Devon's jaw dropped slightly and then quickly pursed them together, forming a grim line.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sean's lips pursed and his hands tightened as he struggled to contain his composure.’
    • ‘He asked, pursing his lips as if threatening me.’
    • ‘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 black-glossed lips were pursed into a pout as she pointed her pen to an empty page in front of her.’
    • ‘Julius smiled weakly, pursing his lips as he replied.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His aides, through pursed lips, maintained that the substance of the dossier remained valuable.’
    • ‘She clenched her hands tightly, pursing her lips.’
    • ‘I withdrew, my lips pursing slightly, and I removed my arm from his jumper.’
    • ‘There was a picture of him throwing the ball, his arm slung back and his lips slightly pursed.’
    • ‘‘You know, I think that's a good idea,’ Lethya said, pursing her lips and laying on the sarcasm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her lips tightened, pursing together, forming a thin pink line across her perfect, porcelain features.’
    • ‘If someone has their arms crossed and their lips are pursed disapprovingly, it's a fairly safe bet they are on the defensive.’
    • ‘Garner looks terribly serious, her plump lips pursed into a parody of determination.’
    • ‘When the jury revealed its verdict on Ingram, he made no response other than pursing his lips and slightly shaking his head.’
    press together, compress, contract, tighten, pucker, screw up, wrinkle, pout
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • hold the purse strings

    • Have control of expenditure.

      • ‘‘This also sends a strong message to the people who hold the purse strings with regard to County Council funding’, he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now tough negotiations are going on with the Primary Care Trusts - which hold the purse strings for all health services in Greater Manchester.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mr Lillycrop, who has complete sympathy for under pressure dentists, pleaded with those who hold the purse strings, to deal with the problem.’
      • ‘The lowest quote was usually chosen by the board of governors, who held the purse strings, which was seen as ‘best value’.’
      • ‘The vision and the plan must also be convincing to Congress, the one holding the purse strings for the government's role.’
      • ‘The twist is, of course, that the amateurs hold the purse strings.’
      • ‘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.’
  • tighten (or loosen) the purse strings

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Kennet District Council is already warning councillors that it will have to tighten the purse strings for the next financial year.’
      • ‘The Scottish Executive wants to set an example by tightening the purse strings and understanding some economics.’
      • ‘Banks and other investors tend to loosen the purse strings when business owners throw some of their own money into the mix.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It remains to be seen whether consumers tighten the purse strings even further or continue to spend.’
      • ‘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

/pərs//pərs/