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Hittite [script needed] (kursa-) or [script needed] (gursa-) is an Asianic cultural word, also appearing also in Kaneshite kursanwn / gursanwn and Akkadian [script needed] (kusinu, gusinu, skinbag).

Has been connected with Ancient Greek βύρσα (búrsa, (skin)bag, wineskin) and Czech, Slovene, Serbo-Croatian krzno[1], originally assumed to be cognate reflexes of Proto-Indo-European *gʷurso-, but that theory is not accepted today and is held untenable (the proper Greek reflex would be *γύρσα (*gúrsa)). Nevertheless, the word eventually spread to Greek, and from there to the West (Latin bursaFrench bourseEnglish purse and dis-burse).

A number of other theories have been proposed with Proto-Indo-European origin of this word, but all of them are held untenable today.

The talismanic usage likely underlies the primary meaning of the “(sheep)skin”, and ties well in with Asianic and Pontic "Golden Fleece" myths.


𒆳𒊭𒀸 (kur-sa-asc (nominative singular)

  1. skin, hide, fleece
  2. skin-bag
  3. also divinized as a fetish or talisman

Usage notes[edit]

Often used with determinative 𒋢 (KUŠ, leather), rarely with 𒄑 (GIŠ, wood).



  • Puhvel, Jaan (1997), “kursa-, kursi-”, in Hittite Etymological Dictionary (Trends in linguistics. Documentation; 14), volume IV, Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, pages 270–275
  • Notes:
  1. ^ Etymologický slovník jazyka českého, ČSAV, 1968, str. 298: odvozeno od nezachovaného slova, které bylo příbuzno s het. kurša