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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.
1545-55; purse + -y1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pursy
Historical Examples
  • By lavender feet clung a big, pursy, lavender-splotched, yellow body.

    A Girl Of The Limberlost Gene Stratton Porter
  • The generous living of Dawson had made him pursy, almost porcine.

    The Trail of '98 Robert W. Service
  • He began to get pursy and red-faced, and was clicking it off with his fifth set of young fellows.

    In Our Town William Allen White
  • He was middle-aged, pursy, and dressed with slap-dash ostentation.

    Average Jones Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • I was very different to the fat, pursy, old ale-wife who discourses with you now—in the glass.

  • 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.
  • The man was fat and pursy, and wore a court wig and a travelling cloak.

    The Man Who Laughs Victor Hugo
  • They are pursy cherubs, of oleaginous appearance and of this-worldly, rather than of other-worldly paunch and deportment.

    The Smugglers Charles G. Harper
  • You have seen a pursy gentleman in black hurrying along the street and tapping his boot with a cane, as though keeping time.

  • 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
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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