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[pur-ser] /ˈpɜr sər/
an officer on a ship who handles financial accounts and various documents relating to the ship and who keeps money and valuables for passengers.
Origin of purser
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1400-50; See origin at purse, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for purser
Historical Examples
  • But I doubt,” said the purser, “whether either they or their wearer be good enough to die.

    Rattlin the Reefer Edward Howard
  • The purser was one of the most gentlemanly and best educated men in the ship.

    The Three Midshipmen W.H.G. Kingston
  • Let her draw stores, you find she's steward and purser, just surely poison to the chandlers.

    A Man in the Open Roger Pocock
  • “If we had but some food, we might fare better,” observed the purser.

    Owen Hartley; or, Ups and Downs William H. G. Kingston
  • Our purser happened along and gave Don a letter which I recognized as being from Mrs. Sequin.

    A Romance of Billy-Goat Hill Alice Hegan Rice
  • The purser's steward's assistant in the bread and steward's room.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Snap had taken the code word sheet that time we sealed the purser in the cage.

    Brigands of the Moon Ray Cummings
  • I have no doubt the purser will be able to let you have such funds as you need.

    A Middy of the Slave Squadron Harry Collingwood
  • The purser was with us, and he thought it would interest you.

    Walking Shadows Alfred Noyes
  • On the 2nd of August the faces of the purser and his clerks were longer than usual.

    Hurricane Hurry W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for purser


an officer aboard a passenger ship, merchant ship, or aircraft who keeps the accounts and attends to the welfare of the passengers
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 purser

mid-15c., "treasurer," especially "caretaker of accounts and provisions on a ship," originally also "maker of purses" (late 15c.), agent noun from Middle English purse (see purse (n.)). From late 13c. as a surname.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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