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[pur-see] /ˈpɜr si/
adjective, pursier, pursiest.
short-winded, especially from corpulence or fatness.
corpulent or fat.
Origin of pursy1
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English purcy, variant of Middle English pursif < Anglo-French porsif, variant of Old French polsif, derivative (see -ive) of polser to pant, heave. See push
Related forms
pursily, adverb
pursiness, noun


[pur-see] /ˈpɜr si/
adjective, pursier, pursiest.
vain about one's wealth; purse-proud.
First recorded in 1545-55; purse + -y1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pursy
Historical Examples
  • His dull eyes were pursy with midnight debauches; his flesh sagged.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • The generous living of Dawson had made him pursy, almost porcine.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • There was frank wonder and admiration in the pursy gentleman's eyes.

    The Carpet from Bagdad

    Harold MacGrath
  • He was middle-aged, pursy, and dressed with slap-dash ostentation.

    Average Jones Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • The man was fat and pursy, and wore a court wig and a travelling cloak.

    The Man Who Laughs

    Victor Hugo
  • By lavender feet clung a big, pursy, lavender-splotched, yellow body.

    A Girl Of The Limberlost Gene Stratton Porter
  • He would have no such assemblage of the clergy until he should grow fat and pursy and need trouble to keep him in breath, he said.

    The Beginners of a Nation Edward Eggleston.
  • They are pursy cherubs, of oleaginous appearance and of this-worldly, rather than of other-worldly paunch and deportment.

    The Smugglers Charles G. Harper
  • If he was aware of this scrutiny on the part of the pursy gentleman, he gave not the least sign.

    The Carpet from Bagdad

    Harold MacGrath
  • There parade the pursy peacocks; they don't cough down here in desertion and darkness, like poor old me.

    The Confidence-Man Herman Melville
British Dictionary definitions for pursy


(archaic) fat; overweight
Word Origin
C15: alteration of earlier pursive, from Anglo-French porsif, ultimately from Latin pulsāre to pulsate
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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