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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
1400-50; late Middle English; see purse, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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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