handbag vs purse

When we started this website, Purse Blog seemed like a perfectly fitting name. But over time I realized that I tend to use the word handbag more than purses. And then, of course, for short I use the term bag. Both terms mean the same thing, but I still find myself gravitating toward saying designer handbags rather than designer purses. Some people have told me that men use the word more often than women, not sure if this is true.

As I discuss our website and business with outsiders, the terms purses and handbags are thrown around. Most recently I was asked which term we prefer. And I immediately said handbags. Then realized that our site and forum are named Purse Blog and Purse Forum. Of course both terms can be used interchangeably, and denote the same meaning, but I prefer one over the other.

[poll id=”21″]

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • patois

    I just say bag, as in my bag addiction, but I think purse blog sounds catchier. Handbag Blog sounds like a tongue twister; just see if you can say it three times fast!

    • Megs

      Agree! Purse Blog flows better, but when I talk about my “bags” I use bag or handbag

  • Lisa

    I use both……I use ‘handbag’ when discussing such things with my mom and friends and others who are interested in fashion and all things girly. I use ‘purse’ when talking to my husband or those that don’t really care so much. They look at me strange when I say ‘handbag’.

    I like handbag better, IMHO………… :razz:

  • wgs

    i voted for “other”, meaning i use the plain old term “bag”.

  • I think guys are more inclined to call it a ‘purse’ than a ‘handbag’.

  • I use bag and purse, mostly.

  • Jo-Anne

    I usually say bag or purse. I don’t like saying handbag because when I hear the word “handbag” I think of hand-held bags and I prefer shoulder bags.

  • Handbags all the way. Over here in the UK, purses are the things that we keep our loose change in. So a woman has a purse, wallet and designer handbag.

  • lula_bernie

    I usually just say, “bag”.

  • mel_mel1004

    I usually say handbag or bag but i agree that purseblog is much catchier and direct!
    Saying purse sometimes makes me think of a specific style of bag, like how we refer to clutches as such.

  • FashionAddicted

    Of course, I’d assume that most of us say “bags” or “handbags” more because its just more modernized..
    But honestly, if your thinking about renaming the site to “handbagblog” please dont!
    purseblog is the name that stuck and i find it unique just because we dont say it that often in real life.

    • No no no, def not changing the name of the site! Just remarking that when we named it I thought of Purse rather than handbag… but realize I say bag or handbag more!

  • spoiled_brat

    I say “purse”

    To me, “bag”/”handbag” sounds odd and vague… but a “purse” is something fashionable and unique

    Idk… that’s just my opinion :wink:

  • luvhautecouture

    I use bag and purse… but I like purse better because it sounds more elegant than “bag”

  • Summer Roberts

    I personally say bag, and I say purse when I’m referring to small articles such as wallets, coin change purse, clutch or something small.

  • Summer Roberts

    I personally say bag, and I say purse when I’m referring to small articles such as wallets, coin change purse, clutch or something small. And yes purseblog sounds better than handbagblog!!!

  • L

    Handbag. Actually, I usually just say “bag.” “Purse” seems a little old-fashioned (like a phrase my father would use) and almost like it should be a subcategory of “handbag.” That said, “purseblog” is still a great name; the P and B sounds roll off the tongue nicely. Don’t ever change! :-P

  • heidi

    i’ve always wondered what the myriad of definitions of bags really mean. can you make a glossary of definitions? for example:

    north south

  • Showgirl

    I think the UK use of purse vs. handbag is closer to the proper meaning of each (from Merriam-Webster):

    Etymology: Middle English purs, from Old English, modification of Medieval Latin bursa, from Greek byrsa
    Date: before 12th century
    1: a small bag for money

    Date: 1862
    1 : suitcase
    2 : a bag held in the hand or hung from a shoulder strap and used for carrying small personal articles and money

    I prefer handbag.

  • william

    I use neither because a handbag is carried in the crook of the arm or in the hand and a purse is actually something that holds money, like coin purse or wallet. Americans have adopted the word purse as a synonym for handbag which we (Americans) use incorrectly to describe all sorts of bags. I just say ‘bag’. It’s genderless and covers all types of bags. The French say ‘sac’ which means bag in French.

  • william

    Oops! I just read showgirl’s comment. I truly appreciate that someone mentioned that before me!!

  • Reena


    I always thought it was called Purse Blog, because it’s an American term? Instead of handbag? I use handbag, purse to me would be what you all would call a wallet? Funny how in different countries, it means different things!!

  • Gigi

    It’s funny, I’m not even British (Canadian here) and I still consider a “purse” to be something to keep your spare change it, or at least a very very small bag. I consider a “purse” to be a type of “handbag”. Sometimes I just lose the prefix and say “bag”. Also, “purse” sounds horribly snobbish to me.