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See more synonyms for purser on Thesaurus.com
  1. an officer on a ship who handles financial accounts and various documents relating to the ship and who keeps money and valuables for passengers.
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Origin of purser

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at purse, -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

comptroller, cashier, bursar

Examples from the Web for purser

Historical Examples

  • He then ordered the purser's steward to splice the main-brace.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The purser had come to the bridge, and now approached Cornish.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • The purser said that the dragon's name was Mrs. Scrivener-Yapling, with a hyphen.

  • I may say, however, that the purser was not as silent as the captain.

  • How can I help you but by speaking to the captain or purser?

British Dictionary definitions for purser


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper