purse string

1 of 2


: one of the drawstrings of a purse by which its mouth is opened or closed
purse strings plural : financial resources
those who have control of our municipal purse strings
purse strings will thus continue to control the distribution of … documentsEconomist


2 of 2


: formed or drawn in the manner of a purse string
a wind-tight purse-string closure about the neck
see purse-string suture
: involving control of financial matters : acting through financial control
committee would have purse-string power to enforce the decisionsThe National Jewish Monthly

Word History



Middle English, from purs, purse purse + string


purse string

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of purse string was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near purse string

purse silk

purse string


Cite this Entry

“Purse string.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purse%20string. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

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