Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Cutpurse.

 Cutler’s Poetry.Cutter’s Law. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Now called “pickpocket.” The two words are of historical value. When purses were worn suspended from a girdle, thieves cut the string by which the purse was attached; but when pockets were adopted, and purses were no longer hung on the girdle, the thief was no longer a cutpurse, but became a pickpocket.   1
        “To have an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand, is necessary for a cutpurse.”—Shakespeare: Winter’s Tale, iv. 3.

 Cutler’s Poetry.Cutter’s Law. 


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