\ 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 Henson, now a student at Miami University, gave him her purse. Kevin Grasha, Cincinnati.com, "He pulled the trigger twice during robbery of Loveland teens, but the gun didn't fire.," 18 Dec. 2019 And his sustained brilliance and dominance continued to elevate the sport’s exposure – as well as its purses. Steve Dimeglio, USA TODAY, "Tiger Woods made a late splash, but Rory McIlroy leads our Top 10 PGA Tour players of the decade," 17 Dec. 2019 Just a few weeks back, Lizzo brought along her tiny purse to the American Music Awards. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Timothée Chalamet Rocked a Fan-Gifted Keychain to the “Little Women” Red Carpet," 13 Dec. 2019 Meet your new purse essential, Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover. The Good Housekeeping Institute, Good Housekeeping, "GH Seal Spotlight: Tide Detergents," 13 Dec. 2019 The victim was knocked to the ground and severely injured when the assailant snatched her purse. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Man sentenced to 16 years for robbery of 87-year-old," 6 Dec. 2019 The statue of Parks depicts her standing, with her hands clutching her purse in front of her. Greg Garrison | Ggarrison@al.com, al, "Montgomery unveils Rosa Parks statue," 1 Dec. 2019 Take a few photos, but then put your phone in your pocket or your purse for the night. Jackie Pilossoph, chicagotribune.com, "Column: 10 tips for enjoying the holiday party season," 30 Nov. 2019 Alda was unfailingly generous with her purse, her time, and her talent. courant.com, "Alda Neumann," 17 Nov. 2019

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

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Purse.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purse. Accessed 20 January 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

Comments on purse

What made you want to look up purse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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