My mother tongue isn't English, my English teacher asked me to find out the meaning of the phrase

"to purse your lips"

  • 4
    Welcome! Your first stop should be an online dictionary such as dictionary.com. You can then check Google for images of people with pursed lips.
    – KarlG
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 13:42
  • 1
    You might find the community for English Language Learners helpful, too (although they would also want you to consult a dictionary first).
    – J.R.
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 9:43

2 Answers 2


The expression derives from the original sense of the term purse:

"little bag made of leather," especially for carrying money, from Medieval Latin bursa "leather purse"

used in the following connotation of the verb to purse:

c. 1600 as "draw together and wrinkle" (as the strings of a money bag), from purse (n.)

from which:

if you pucker or contract your lips, you're pursing them.


purse your lips

to press your lips together and outwards because you are angry or are thinking Martha pursed her lips disapprovingly.

Purse your lips

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