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Purse Options
Helenej
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 7:36:45 AM

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There are two main definitions of the word 'purse' in TFD.

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.

If I say "Have you seen my purse? I don't remember where I put it", how can a person know which I mean?
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 7:40:58 AM

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TFD:


purse


In British English, a purse is a small container that a woman carries money in.
I always have my phone, purse, and keys in my handbag.

In American English, this is called a change purse, coin purse, pocketbook, or wallet.
Eva searched her change purse and found fifty cents.

The word wallet is also used in British English, but only to refer to a container that a man carries money in.
Dad opened his wallet and gave me a ten pound note.

In American English, a purse is a woman's handbag.
She reached in her purse for her diary.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
tunaafi
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 7:41:16 AM

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In British English we understand only the second definition. A British purse could never hold a wallet.

(Cross-posted with Jyrkkä Jätkä)
Helenej
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 7:51:58 AM

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I see. Thank you.

It sounds clear and logical in BE: my purse is in my handbag.

As for AE, the same would sound clumsy: my change purse is in my purse.

Is it possible there is one simple word in AE for "usually closable small bag or pouch for carrying money"?
Vinod chandra pandey
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 7:54:24 AM

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purse of my life
my dream in purse
you can look into my purse
I lost my purse.
Crawdaddy
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 8:03:33 AM
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A person who couldn't sort that one out might be considered fairly dense.
It's simply the difference in word usage, isn't it.
If a person asks where you left his vest, what does he assume you mean? BE and AE are different, aren't they.
How about garden. If I invite you to meet me in in the garden, where will you go? Will I find you standing among rows of peas, or sitting in the grass?

Did you ask the question you wanted answered?
tunaafi
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 8:05:08 AM

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Vinod chandra pandey wrote:
purse of my life
my dream in purse


What are you on about?
Allana
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 11:48:14 AM

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The word 'purse' can have another meaning, fortunately an obvious one from it's context.

To purse your lips is to make a disapproving shape of the mouth., nothing to do with purses, handbags, wallets or coin-purses.

I don't know what dictionary you might find it in if TFD has missed it, but I grew up with it.
Helenej
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 12:01:16 PM

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Allana wrote:
The word 'purse' can have another meaning, fortunately an obvious one from it's context.

To purse your lips is to make a disapproving shape of the mouth., nothing to do with purses, handbags, wallets or coin-purses.

I don't know what dictionary you might find it in if TFD has missed it, but I grew up with it.



TFD has this meaning, Allana. It goes,

To gather or contract (the lips or brow) into wrinkles or folds; pucker.

Thank you.
FounDit
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 2:55:56 PM

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Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
TFD:
JJ's post comes closest to the terms I knew growing up.


purse


In American English, this is called a wallet.
Eva searched the wallet in her purse, and found fifty cents.

The word wallet is also used in British English, but only to refer to a container that a man carries money in.
Wallet is also used in AmE for what a man carries, but is also sometimes called a "billfold".
Dad opened his wallet/billfold and gave me ten dollars.

In American English, a purse is a woman's handbag. Right. Handbag or purse for the ladies.
She reached in her purse for her diary.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
Romany
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 3:11:03 PM
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Allana -

Both men and women used once to carry their money in little, soft, draw-string purses which were tied to a string/cord around their waists and worn under their clothes.

When a person "purses" their lips their mouths look like the top of the purse - round and kinda serrated-looking. And the more one pulls the purse-strings, the tighter and smaller that mouth gets.

A very early example of the modern trend to make verbs from nouns!

@Helenj,

Yes, it can be confusing when isn't aware of these differences in meaning. That's why we usually stress whether a word is being used in a BE or an AE way on the forum.


For the eight years I lived in China new arrivals from America constantly found themselves in strange situations by not being aware that the way the rest of us were using words was, at times, different to theirs. And yes: the pants/knickers/trousers thing sometimes had hilarious consequences!

But I don't think any of them were at all "thick".
Helenej
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 3:35:55 PM

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Thank you very much everyone.
Phil Redbud
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 4:17:34 PM

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Allana wrote:
The word 'purse' can have another meaning, fortunately an obvious one from it's context.

To purse your lips is to make a disapproving shape of the mouth., nothing to do with purses, handbags, wallets or coin-purses.

I don't know what dictionary you might find it in if TFD has missed it, but I grew up with it.



Don't we purse our lips to kiss?, I think it is something close to pucker/ing.
tunaafi
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 4:43:50 PM

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Phil Redbud wrote:
Don't we purse our lips to kiss?, I think it is something close to pucker/ing.


If you pursed your lips, the person you were approaching would wonder what the heck was happening. The only times I have seen people pursing their lips prior to kissing were when young children have been obliged to kiss elderly relatives they dislike.
Tovarish
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 5:25:32 PM
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In Australia a woman's purse is the same as a man's wallet for money, credit cards, lisences and is usually about 3"X7" with multiple pockets.

A handbag is for all the other necessaries of a woman's life in including the purse, mobile phones, hair brushes and general junk.
idk
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 5:38:18 PM
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In Canada a purse is a handbag and it is usually big enough in which to put a wallet. The wallet usually has a compartment for change as well as for bills and credit cards, cheque book etc. Therefore one does not usually need a separate change purse for coins.

Then there is an evening bag for social functions. And a tote bag. And a money bag worn under clothing when traveling. Etc.

Men carry wallets. We would recognize the term billfold. Some younger braver men nowadays carry a murse - man's purse. But usually they carry a briefcase, especially if they are business people. Women may carry a briefcase too.

As for knowing which is which, context is the answer.

If you say 'Where's my purse?' the listener cannot know which you mean unless it is someone who is familiar with you. If you mean only the little purse for coins, call it a change purse.


Peter O'Connor - Dundalk
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 6:22:46 PM

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Different definitions in British or American English methinks.
CatCat
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 7:40:40 PM

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Romany wrote:


Both men and women used once to carry their money in little, soft, draw-string purses which were tied to a string/cord around their waists and worn under their clothes.

When a person "purses" their lips their mouths look like the top of the purse - round and kinda serrated-looking. And the more one pulls the purse-strings, the tighter and smaller that mouth gets.



You're a wealth of interesting trivia, Romany. I enjoyed reading your post on the number 40 recently and now this! :)
CatCat
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 7:41:40 PM

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tunaafi wrote:

If you pursed your lips, the person you were approaching would wonder what the heck was happening. The only times I have seen people pursing their lips prior to kissing were when young children have been obliged to kiss elderly relatives they dislike.


Very funny and very true. The memories still haunt me :)
Lupe 66
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 10:06:00 PM

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men like to marry a nurse with a Purse!!!! In house joke!!!!
Romany
Posted: Saturday, January 17, 2015 5:14:16 AM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Cat - the worst, for me, were those formidable elderly female relatives with moustaches and whiskers!! Having to kiss them was like having to kiss a hairbrush!

As to the "interesting trivia"? The story of my life: I might be able to tell a person when buses were first used commercially, and when they changed from being horse-drawn: but if asked when the next one is due and where it's going to, I'd be stymied!
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