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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).


Phonemic transcription (IPA)
Common gender Singular Plural
nominative kɔrsas kɔrsɛs, kɔrsis
vocative kɔrsi, kɔrsa
accusative kɔrsan kɔrsɔs
genitive kɔrsas kɔrsas, kɔrsan
dative-locative kɔrsi kɔrsas
allative kɔrsa
ablative kɔrsat͡s kɔrsat͡s
instrumental kɔrsitː kɔrsitː
The IPA values given in this table are reconstructed.
Broad transcription
Common gender Singular Plural
nominative kursaš kurseš, kursiš
vocative kursi, kursa
accusative kursan kursuš
genitive kursaš kursaš, kursan
dative-locative kursi kursaš
allative kursa
ablative kursaz(a) kursaz(a)
instrumental kursit kursit
Common gender Singular Plural
nominative kur-ša-aš kur-še-eš, kur-ši-iš
vocative kur-ša, kur-ši
accusative kur-ša-an kur-šu-uš
genitive kur-ša-aš kur-ša-aš, kur-ša-an
dative-locative kur-ši kur-ša-aš
allative kur-ša
ablative kur-ša-az kur-ša-az
instrumental kur-ši-it kur-ši-it
Common gender Singular Plural
nominative 𒆳𒊭𒀸 𒆳𒊺𒌍, 𒆳𒅆𒅖
vocative 𒆳𒊭, 𒆳𒅆
accusative 𒆳𒊭𒀭 𒆳𒋗𒍑
genitive 𒆳𒊭𒀸 𒆳𒊭𒀸, 𒆳𒊭𒀭
dative-locative 𒆳𒅆 𒆳𒊭𒀸
allative 𒆳𒊭
ablative 𒆳𒊭𒊍 𒆳𒊭𒊍
instrumental 𒆳𒅆𒀉 𒆳𒅆𒀉


  • 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