1. A usually closable bag used for carrying keys, a wallet, and other personal items, especially by women; a handbag.
2. A usually closable small bag or pouch for carrying money.
3. Something that resembles a bag or pouch, such as a purse seine.
4. An available amount of money or resources: a project funded by the public purse.
5. A sum of money collected as a present or offered as a prize.
tr.v. pursed, purs·ing, purs·es
To gather or contract (the lips or brow) into wrinkles or folds; pucker.
[Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin bursa; see BURSA.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.