Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Language: Late Latin
Origin: bursa; BURSAR

purse

1 noun
     
purse1 S3
1 [countable]
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.
4 [countable]DSO 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.
5

the purse strings

BF used to refer to the control of spending in a family, company, country etc
hold/control the purse strings
It all comes down to who holds the purse strings.
She keeps tight control over the purse strings.

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