Definition of purse noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//pɜːs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//pɜːrs//
    Combat sports, Accessories
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  1. 1 [countable] (especially British English) a small bag made of leather, plastic, etc. for carrying coins and often also paper money, cards, etc., used especially by women I took a coin out of my purse and gave it to the child. compare change purse, wallet See related entries: Accessories
  2. 2[countable] (North American English) = handbag See related entries: Accessories
  3. 3[singular] the amount of money that is available to a person, an organization or a government to spend We have holidays to suit every purse. Should spending on the arts be met out of the public purse (= from government money)?
  4. 4[countable] (sport) a sum of money given as a prize in a boxing match See related entries: Combat sports
  5. Word Originlate 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 cent.Extra examples I dug in my purse to find my respirator. I rummaged through my purse for my lip gloss. She grabbed her purse and headed out the door. She had her purse snatched. She handed him a bulging velvet purse. She slung her black leather purse over her shoulder. She wore pink heels with a matching clutch purse. The government will have to tighten the purse strings. The reforms had drained the public purse. There is no money in the purse for this. What do you keep in your purse? Who holds the purse strings in your house? She fumbled in her purse for her glasses. Should spending on the arts be met out of the public purse? The city has a range of restaurants to suit every purse.Idioms
    make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
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    to succeed in making something good out of material that does not seem very good at all
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: purse