Definition of purse string in English:

purse string

Pronunciation /ˈpəː(s) strɪŋ/


  • 1A string, or each of a pair of strings, which may be drawn to close the mouth of a purse; a drawstring. In later use chiefly in similative expressions.

  • 2 figurative Chiefly in plural, especially in various phrases relating to the control of money, as "to hold the purse strings": to control expenditure.


Late Middle English; earliest use found in The Book of Margery Kempe. From purse + string.