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[bur-ser, -sahr] /ˈbɜr sər, -sɑr/
a treasurer or business officer, especially of a college or university.
(in the Middle Ages) a university student.
Chiefly Scot. a student attending a university on a scholarship.
Origin of bursar
late Middle English
1400-50; < Medieval Latin bursārius a purse-keeper, treasurer (see bursa, -ar2); replacing late Middle English bouser, variant of bourser < Anglo-French; Old French borsier
Related forms
underbursar, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bursar
Historical Examples
  • I do not know how far you are in the right about guessing at a bursar: Tim.

  • While bursar of Magdalen College he built the college chapel tower.

  • The bursar thought that Mr. Ravenshoe's plea of sobriety should be taken in extenuation.


    Henry Kingsley
  • “The bursar and I shall have plenty of time for an explanation—later,” said Pluto.

    The Casual Ward A. D. Godley
  • Suppose he went to the bursar, obtained an exeat, fled straight to London!

    Zuleika Dobson Max Beerbohm
  • Since you are bursar for the lunch, said the secretary, I will buy the ferry tickets, and he did so.

    Plum Pudding

    Christopher Morley
  • Not seeing him anywhere, he found the bursar and inquired for Dr. Claudius.

    Doctor Claudius, A True Story F. Marion Crawford
  • Into the archway leading to the bursar's room and to East Dormitory, or through the opening to the quad?

    King of Ranleigh

    F. S. (Frederick Sadlier) Brereton
  • "The bursar of Trinity shall be a proverb for a good fellow that loveth his lush," hiccoughed out Fegan.

  • No bursar of a college or housekeeper of a school can fail to read it with a sympathetic smile.

British Dictionary definitions for bursar


an official in charge of the financial management of a school, college, or university
(mainly Scot & NZ) a student holding a bursary
Word Origin
C13: from Medieval Latin bursārius keeper of the purse, from bursa purse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bursar

"treasurer of a college," 1580s, from Anglo-Latin burser "treasurer" (13c.), from Medieval Latin bursarius "purse-bearer," from bursa (see purse (n.)). Related: Bursarial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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