\ ˈpərs How to pronounce purse (audio) \

Definition of purse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a small bag for money
(2) : a receptacle (such as a pocketbook) for carrying money and often other small objects
b : a receptacle (such as a pouch) shaped like a purse
b : a sum of money offered as a prize or present also : the total amount of money offered in prizes for a given event


pursed; pursing

Definition of purse (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to put into a purse
2 : pucker, knit pursed his brow

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Other Words from purse


purselike \ ˈpərs-​ˌlīk How to pronounce purselike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for purse

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of purse in a Sentence

Noun a golf tournament with a million dollar purse I left my purse at home, so I can't buy anything after all. Verb She pursed her lips in concentration. His lips were tightly pursed.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Simon Pagenaud received $2,669,529 from a purse of $13,090,536 last year. Matthew Glenesk, Indianapolis Star, "New boss Roger Penske increasing speed and purse for 2020 Indianapolis 500," 14 Feb. 2020 His thing was outsiders, trying to spot the 300–1 shot that would triumph and win a big purse from a small stake. Deborah Orr, The New York Review of Books, "Made in Lanarkshire, Scotland," 7 Feb. 2020 The 6-furlong event for fillies and mares carries a base purse of $33,000 plus up to $9,900 for the four California-breds. Larry Stumes, SFChronicle.com, "This Week at Golden Gate Fields, Feb. 6-9," 5 Feb. 2020 This could be in your carry-on or in a purse or backpack — just don’t pack it away. Laurie Jennings, Good Housekeeping, "36 Tips for How to Travel With Kids That Will Save Your Next Family Vacation," 4 Feb. 2020 Helium nuclei were the first to gather a full purse of electrons en masse. Ryan C. Fortenberry, Scientific American, "The First Molecule in the Universe," 1 Feb. 2020 This includes hosiery, shoes, jewelry, an overcoat and a purse. Kelly Zive, Cincinnati.com, "Paris Bloom donates 50 new work-appropriate dresses to Dress For Success Cincinnati," 10 Jan. 2020 The main storage console between the driver and passenger seats can slide back 10 inches, allowing easy access to additional storage space that’s large enough to accommodate a purse or bag. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "All-new 2021 SUV launches this summer; GMC adds adventure-ready AT4 version," 7 Feb. 2020 Shrimp shumai dumplings looked like nervous coin purses. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "Review: Golden Wok Chinese restaurant in San Antonio’s Medical Center going strong after almost 50 years," 30 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'purse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of purse


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for purse


Middle English purs, from Old English, modification of Medieval Latin bursa, from Late Latin, ox hide, from Greek byrsa

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Time Traveler for purse

Time Traveler

The first known use of purse was before the 12th century

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Statistics for purse

Last Updated

26 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Purse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purse. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for purse


How to pronounce purse (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of purse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

US : a usually leather or cloth bag used by women for carrying money and personal things
: an amount of money that a person, organization, or government has available to use
: an amount of money that is offered as a prize in a competition (such as a horse race, a golf tournament, or a boxing match)



English Language Learners Definition of purse (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form (your lips) into a tight circle or line


\ ˈpərs How to pronounce purse (audio) \

Kids Definition of purse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a bag or pouch for money
3 : the amount of money that a person, organization, or government has available for use
4 : a sum of money offered as a prize or collected as a present


pursed; pursing

Kids Definition of purse (Entry 2 of 2)

: to form into a tight circle or line He … pursed his lips, and blew out a little air.— Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows

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More from Merriam-Webster on purse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for purse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with purse

Spanish Central: Translation of purse

Nglish: Translation of purse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of purse for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about purse

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