[bur-ser, -sahr]


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

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 formsun·der·bur·sar, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for bursar

cashier, purser, controller, paymaster

Examples from the Web for bursar

Historical Examples of bursar

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for bursar



an official in charge of the financial management of a school, college, or university
mainly Scot and NZ a student holding a bursary

Word Origin for bursar

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

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