Definition of purse in English:

purse

noun

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

    • ‘Almost every woman I know wants an authentic designer purse - including me.’
    • ‘On the day Pipes made his case in person, no purses or backpacks were allowed into the lecture hall for security reasons.’
    • ‘The practice of ransacking the wife's purse, reading her personal diary, and fumbling into husbands' wallet is quite common.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Joey examined every detail of each purse hanging on the pegs above him.’
    • ‘She looked like a Mom, frazzled blond hair and a bulging woven purse.’
    • ‘In fact, some of those canvas grocery bags are just fine as everyday casual purses.’
    • ‘A few years later, my mother's purse was snatched by someone who was also, coincidentally, younger and larger than she was.’
    • ‘This is a great little pistol that can be carried everyday in a purse or holster.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The things people carry in their purses these days.’
    • ‘In fact, I think the one I've been carrying around in my purse qualifies for some kind of longevity award.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As I transferred the contents from my old purse into the new one, I wondered why I even bother carrying a 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.’
    • ‘While walking with a ‘female companion’ they were approached by two men who grabbed at the woman's purse.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I've always wanted to know whether every monster in the world carried a little pink purse with them or something.’
    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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To promote products, marketers weigh down favor bags with pounds of free stuff: cosmetics, photo frames, leather purses, spa gift certificates.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With just 12 days until Christmas the great British consumer appears to be keeping her plastic in her purse.’
      • ‘Merchants ran about, plunging their bejeweled fingers into their bulging leather purses in order to recount their coins every three minutes or so.’
      • ‘What do you do if you find yourself with a lot of change weighing down your purse / pocket/wallet?’
      • ‘Mum always carried her purse in her coat pocket in case someone took her bag.’
      • ‘Visitors are advised to take their purse or plastic.’
      • ‘Mrs Wright eventually let go and Farrell fled with the purse and the money.’
      • ‘Police searched his property and found numerous bus tickets, empty purses and wallets.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Do not ride motorcycles at any time during Songkran and keep your purse in a plastic bag unless you like soggy money.’
      • ‘This full color catalog features Galco's extensive line of fine leather holsters, belts, accessories and artfully crafted leather purses and briefcases.’
      • ‘I have inner pockets, coin purses, money clips, a beautiful chrome change machine hanging from a leather strap around my neck.’
      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’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘The United Kingdom budgetary cuts will serve to reduce the purse available to the incumbent ministers.’
      • ‘Account wagering would give us 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.’
      • ‘But, in the real world, who exactly is it who has a heavier purse today at my expense?’
      • ‘Although such a move could result in lower handle, the net commission to tracks could be higher, which would mean more money for purses.’
      • ‘To fatten the purse, each contributes to a mutual fund.’
      • ‘The judiciary defends the people and the people's purse.’
      • ‘Trouble is, their meagre purses / pensions, haven't grown in proportion.’
      • ‘This huge massed fund was the purse, say the Seagraves, from which the zaibatsu financed Japan's industrial growth after 1946.’
      fund, funds, resources, money, kitty, pool, coffers, bank, treasury, exchequer, finances, wealth, reserves, cash, capital, assets
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    3. 1.3 A sum of money given as a prize in a sporting contest, especially a boxing match.
      • ‘The men at the table nod to her as she gathers her winnings into her purse and stands.’
      • ‘The weekend began on Saturday morning with 64 hopeful players making their way through the competition and the prize purse.’
      • ‘Put the right money as a prize purse, and you will have the world competing in your backyard.’
      • ‘At the height of his boxing career, he sponsored tournaments, provided purses for professional players and played in national tournaments.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His prize was $5m. That's almost five times the prize purse for the Wimbledon Men's Singles champion.’
      • ‘For a rematch with Ali, Frazier demanded the lion's share of the purse.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After the increases, maiden races at Hawthorne will carry a $28,000 purse.’
      • ‘Five other stakes, all with $55,000-added purses, will be contested on the card.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Davidoff Cool Water will be continuing its support of free-sports over the next few years, through sponsorship funds and prize purses.’
      • ‘These tournaments have prize purses that, though they don't rival golf yet, are growing every year.’
      • ‘If anything, it was the epic length of the encounter that turned it into some kind of heavyweight contest for a prize purse.’
      • ‘From that point, we knew that Leonard was more than just a pretty face with the golden purse but a true fighter.’
      • ‘Skyrocketing purses have greatly impacted the importance of judging.’
      prize, award, reward
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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’
    • ‘Perhaps, it was the way he lifted his glass, pursing his shiny lips ever so slightly.’
    • ‘If someone has their arms crossed and their lips are pursed disapprovingly, it's a fairly safe bet they are on the defensive.’
    • ‘Devon's jaw dropped slightly and then quickly pursed them together, forming a grim line.’
    • ‘There was a pause as Kat stared at him, her lips pursing together slightly.’
    • ‘When the jury revealed its verdict on Ingram, he made no response other than pursing his lips and slightly shaking his head.’
    • ‘Garner looks terribly serious, her plump lips pursed into a parody of determination.’
    • ‘Her lips tightened, pursing together, forming a thin pink line across her perfect, porcelain features.’
    • ‘Jocelyn wrinkled her chin, pursing her lips, shaking her head, ‘I'm quite all right,’ she lied.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He asked, pursing his lips as if threatening me.’
    • ‘I withdrew, my lips pursing slightly, and I removed my arm from his jumper.’
    • ‘Her lips were pursed and faint wrinkle lines could be made out around her eyes.’
    • ‘Julius smiled weakly, pursing his lips as he replied.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘You know, I think that's a good idea,’ Lethya said, pursing her lips and laying on the sarcasm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her black-glossed lips were pursed into a pout as she pointed her pen to an empty page in front of her.’
    • ‘She clenched her hands tightly, pursing her lips.’
    press together, compress, contract, tighten, pucker, screw up, wrinkle, pout
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • hold the purse strings

    • Have control of expenditure.

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

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

      • ‘Now that we are back in funds, loosening the purse strings again, you have more credibility if it is somebody else.’
      • ‘Kennet District Council is already warning councillors that it will have to tighten the purse strings for the next financial year.’
      • ‘Thanks to the boost in attendance, the ownership group loosened the purse strings and went after some free agents.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 remains to be seen whether consumers tighten the purse strings even further or continue to spend.’

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/