Thursday, April 23, 2015
On the basis of the similarity of letter sequences, Stan asked about a potential connection between the words reimburse and disburse. There is a connection, and that is the Latin word bursa, a pouch or purse. In turn, that came from the Greek word βύρσα, a hide or wine-skin.
To reimburse is to repay a sum of money. Literally, it is to put money back into the purse. To disburse is to distribute money. Literally, it is to take money out of the purse.
The word purse comes from the same Latin word. So does bursa, a fluid-filled sac that prevents friction between body parts; at all costs, avoid bursitis. Then there’s the word bursar, a college treasurer.
The stock exchange in Britain is called The Burse. The stock exchange in France is called The Bourse. In Germany, it’s called The Börse.
Finally, to purse your lips is to pucker them, as if tightening the strings of a purse.
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