a) especially British EnglishDC
a small bag in which women keep paper money, coins, cards etc [= wallet American English]
Julie opened her handbag and took out her purse.
b) also change purse, coin purse American English
a small bag used to hold coins, used especially by women
2 [countable] American EnglishDC
a bag in which a woman carries her money and personal things [= handbag British English]
I locked the door and dropped the keys in my purse.
3 [singular] formalBF
the amount of money that a person, organization, or country has available to spend:
Election expenses are met from the public purse (=money controlled by the government).
A visit to the new county museum will set the family purse back by around £12.
the amount of money given to someone who wins a sports event, such as a boxing match or a car race:
They will compete for a $100,000 purse.