1. A small bag or pouch, the opening of which is made to draw together closely, used to carry money in; by extension, any receptacle for money carried on the person; a wallet; a pocketbook; a portemonnaie. who steals my purse steals trash. (Shak)
2. Hence, a treasury; finances; as, the public purse.
In persia, the sum of 50 tomans. Light purse, or empty purse, poverty or want of resources. Long purse, or heavy purse, wealth; riches. Purse crab See pocket gopher, under Pocket. Sword and purse, the military power and financial resources of a nation.
Origin: OE. Purs, pors, OF. Burse, borse, bourse, F. Bourse, LL. Bursa, fr. Gr. Hide, skin, leather. Cf. Bourse, Bursch, Bursar, Buskin.