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From Medieval Latin imbursāre, Late Latin imbursāre, from Latin im- (variant of in- (prefix meaning ‘in, inside’ usually affixed to verbs)) + bursa (animal skin, oxhide; purse (usually made of leather or skin); supply of money, funds) (from Ancient Greek βῠ́ρσᾰ (búrsa, animal skin; skin stripped off a hide)); analysable as im- +‎ burse. The word is cognate with Old French enborser (modern French embourser), Italian imborsare, Spanish embolsar (to bag). [1]



imburse (third-person singular simple present imburses, present participle imbursing, simple past and past participle imbursed)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To put into a purse; to save, to store up.
    • 1847, Niccolo Machiavelli, chapter V, in The History of Florence, and of the Affairs of Italy, [] A New Translation (Bohn’s Standard Library), London: Henry G[eorge] Bohn, [], →OCLC, book I, page 81:
      [T]he then existing Signors and the colleagues, feeling themselves possessed of sufficient power, assumed the authority to fix upon the Signors that would have to sit during the next forty months, by putting their names into a bag or purse, and drawing them every two months. But, before the expiration of the forty months, many citizens were jealous that their names had not been deposited amongst the rest, and a new emborsation was made. From this beginning arose the custom of emborsing or enclosing the names of all who should take office in any of the magistracies for a long time to come, as well those whose offices employed them within the city as those abroad, although previously, the councils of the retiring magistrates had elected those who were to succeed them.
    • 1871, Maria Francesca Rossetti, “The Hell”, in A Shadow of Dante: Being an Essay towards Studying Himself, His World and His Pilgrimage, London, Oxford, Cambridge: Rivingtons, →OCLC, page 56:
      Pit 3, the tomb of Simoniacs, is perforated throughout bottom and sides with round holes, 'purses' in which these money-sinners are imbursed from sight, head downward and within the earth, while their feet writhe without, licked by the fire which torments offenders directly against God.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To give money to, to pay; to stock or supply with money.
    • 1630 October 6, William Burt, “(Agent William Burt) to (the East India Company)”, in W. Noel Sainsbury, editor, Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, East Indies and Persia, 1630–1634, Preserved in the Public Record Office and the India Office, [volume VIII], London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, published 1892, →OCLC; reprinted in Vaduz, Liechtenstein: Kraus Reprint, 1964, →OCLC, paragraph 78, page 61:
      If the Company would enlarge this commerce, it must be done by investments in India according to their annual advices to the Factors there, and the Company will also do well strictly to enjoin the Factors to prohibit lading any of the kinds sent for the Company's account, such commodities will imburse ready moneys with which silk can be procured far more reasonably than of the King, and without the fraud his Ministers use by their unconscionable wetting and false weighing.
    • 1856 April 5, [George Augustus Sala], “The Dalgetty Race”, in Charles Dickens, editor, Household Words. A Weekly Journal, volume XIII, number 315, London: Office, 16, Wellington Street North, Strand [printed by Bradbury and Evans, []], →OCLC, page 267, column 2:
      He had shed his blood for the Queen Isabella Segunda and her exemplary mamma, Marie Christina, on the arid plains of Catalonia; and the ungrateful Isabella had neglected to imburse him his large arrears of pay-pension and allowances; []
    • 1857, Richard Lindsey Sutton, “On the Practical Application of Association”, in The British Workman’s Legacy or Political, Moral, & Social Regeneration, Edinburgh: Printed [by William Blackwood and Sons] for the author, →OCLC, pages 36–37:
      [A] clause or rule should exist to admit the withdrawal (under such circumstances) of all or a certain part of the paid-in capital, none of which having in the mean time been imbursed for such member's benefit in sickness or other casualty.
    • 1860, The Sporting Magazine, volume XXXVI, London: Rogerson & Tuxford, →OCLC, page 212:
      Our Club cannot prosper unless we emburse / The Treasurer's wallet,—nay, quite the reverse, / From bad we shall only be getting to worse, / For the bowstring is strung by unstringing the purse; []
    • 1967, Annual Administration Report on Scheduled Areas in Gujarat State, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India: Government Central Press, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 6:
      The Adivasis are unable to bear the burden of their children's education on account of their unsatisfactory economic condition. In the light of these facts this department has been imbursing the fees of the Adivasi students []
    • 2010, G[ale] A[lden] Swanson, “An Analysis of the Imbursement of Currency in a Debt-based Money-information System”, in David [B.] Paradice, editor, Emerging Systems Approaches in Information Technologies: Concepts, Theories, and Applications, Hershey, Pa.: Information Science Reference, →ISBN, page 133, column 3:
      In such information systems, the period of a debt instrument shrinks to nano-seconds. Huge magnitudes of money are imbursed and transmitted.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To pay back money that is owed; to refund, to repay, to reimburse.
    • 1744, A[ugerius] G[islenius] Busbequius [i.e., Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq], Travels into Turkey: Containing the Most Accurate Account of the Turks, and Neighbouring Nations, [], London: Printed for J. Robinson, []; and W. Payne, [], →OCLC, page 223:
      [T]hey prayed me to be their Surety for payment of their Ranſom-Money; and herein every one was very forward with his Pretences; one alledged Nobleneſs of Birth; another, that he had great Friends and Alliances; a Third, that he was a Commander in the Army, and had much Pay due to him; a Fourth, that he had Caſh enough at Home, and was able to imburſe me.
    • 1877, Dante [Alighieri], “Canto XI”, in Charles Tomlinson, transl., A Vision of Hell: The Inferno of Dante Translated into English Tierce Rhyme; [], London: S. W. Partridge and Co. [], →OCLC, page 79:
      Man can use fraud, which every conscience gnaws, / Against the man who doth in him confide; / And him who not to imburse his trust sees cause.

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  1. ^ imburse, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1899.