Older Use. a pickpocket.
(formerly) a person who steals by cutting purses from the belt.
Origin of cutpurse
First recorded in 1325–75, cutpurse
is from the Middle English
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for cutpurse
Historical Examples of cutpurse
He excludes "the insolence of office," and "the cutpurse of the empire and the rule."
The pickpocket plied his trade, only he was then a cutpurse.
I feel as if only to think of it were lowering myself to the level of some cutpurse.
Some apprentices had caught a cutpurse in the crowd, and were beating him unmercifully.
He tickles his ears with a straw, and while he is pleased with scratching it, picks his pocket, as the cutpurse served Bartl.
British Dictionary definitions for cutpurse
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 cutpurse
"one who steals by the method of cutting purses, a common practice when men wore their purses at their girdles" [Johnson], mid-14c., from cut (v.) + purse (n.). The word continued after the method switched to picking pockets.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper