Just wondering

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Dec 30 02:35:03 UTC 2006

At 9:00 PM -0500 12/29/06, Wilson Gray wrote:
>FWIW,my wife, who's from Wilkes-Barre, speaking of Pennsylavania.
>doesn't recognize any distinction between "purse" and "pocketbook."
>Also, FWIW, I don't consider what I call a "change purse" to be a
>purse in the sense meant here. If my wife asked me to get her purse,
>it would never occur to me to look inside her pocketbook for her
>change purse.
>IAC, I'd say that it's clear that, for some people, "pocketbook" and
>"purse" name distinct objects and cannot be interchanged. Whew! That's
>a load off my mind! ;-)

A quick poll here;  wife and daughter, both from Connecticut, report
"purse" and "pocketbook" to be interchangeable in meaning, but
daughter (age 22) also notes that the latter label is very out of


>On 12/29/06, GSCole <gscole at ark.ship.edu> wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       GSCole <gscole at ARK.SHIP.EDU>
>>Subject:      Re: Just wondering
>>In my mind, a purse is smaller than a pocketbook; a purse may be carried
>>inside of a pocketbook.  A coin purse is the smallest purse of which I'm
>>aware; small enough to be carried in a trouser side pocket.
>>George Cole
>>Shippensburg University
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Brenda Lester
>>Sent: Fri 29-Dec-06 17:19
>>Subject:      Re: [ADS-L] Just wondering
>>2) "Pocketbook" and "purse" are interchangeable.
>>   I've always considered a purse to be smaller than a pocketbook. A
>>pocketbook has all your work-a-day junk in it; a purse is for a few
>>necessary items.
>>Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>2) Is there anyone for whom the words "pocketbook" and "purse" denote
>>different objects? Not "can" or 'could," but _do_.
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>  __________________________________________________
>>Do You Yahoo!?
>>Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
>come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>-Sam'l Clemens
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list