purse string


Definition of purse string

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one of the drawstrings of a purse by which its mouth is opened or closed
2 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



Definition of purse-string (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of purse string


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for purse string


Middle English, from purs, purse purse + string


purse string

Learn More About purse string

Time Traveler for purse string

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near purse string

purse silk

purse string


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for purse string

Cite this Entry

“Purse string.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purse%20string. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!