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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PURSE, n., v. Also puss (Mry. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VIII. 397, see R, letter, 3.). Sc. usages:

I. n. As in Eng.; dim. forms pursie, pursikie, id. Deriv. pursill, n., as much money as will fill a purse, a purseful (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.).Abd. c.1780 A. Watson Wee Wifeikie (1921) 10:
Although you've lost your gowden locks, Your pouch and pursikie.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Jolly Beggars Recit. iv.:
For mony a pursie she had hooked.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 69:
For we shall heir her pursikie, in spite, man, o' the de'il.

Combs.: ¶(1) purse-browed, adj., of persons: having a puckered brow, frowning; (2) purse-hinger, the draw-string of a purse of the pouch type; (3) purse-mou, lit., the mouth or opening of a purse, fig. applied to a particular type of cloud “assuming the shape of a boat” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 229; Ags., Per. 1967) and said to presage a high wind, see 1960 quot. Phr. to open (steek) the purse-mou, to make (refuse) a payment (Cld. 1880 Jam.); (4) purse-penny, a coin, gen. one of a high value, kept in the purse for luck. Also fig. (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Hence by extension applied to something which one cannot get rid of (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.).(1) Slg. 1810 G. Galloway Poems 16:
Far banish'd fly their purse-brow'd frown Frae Stirling ale.
(2) Per. 1766 A. Nicol Poems 52:
The smith is unko stout, And his purse-hingers bound.
(3) Ags. 1960:
Purse-mou. A cloud so shaped. It was believed that the wind would come out of the end of the “purse-mou” next day.
(4) Sc. 1734 J. Spotiswood Hope's Practicks 538:
The best Piece of Gold, commonly called A Purse-penny.

II. v., tr. To put into a purse, pocket. Rare or obs. in Eng. Hence purser, one who has charge of money, a treasurer, financial officer. Poet. Obs. in Eng. in 17th c., exc. in nautical usage.Sc. 1724 Ramsay Works (S.T.S.) III. 92:
Sum Thanis thair Tennants pykit and squeist, And pursit up all thair Rent.
Lnk. 1816 G. Muir Minstrelsy 2:
To rouse the clerk and purser wi' their sang.

[O.Sc. purse penney, 1610.]

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"Purse n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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