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CCNZ 07-02-2007 10:35 PM

I am confused!!! Definitions please
I think I have a newfound addiction - knitting and felting bags! So I am googling for free patterns, lol! But I am getting confused - how's a tote different from a bag different from a purse????? Don't know if it's just a cultural thing or maybe I just wasn't taught right, but I always just thought purse is what girls have as opposed to what boys have called wallets, so some of the "purse" patterns are what I'd call bag/handbags.

Knitting_Guy 07-02-2007 10:39 PM

A tote tends to be larger and has an open top, but otherwise they're pretty much interchangeable terms as far as I'm concerned.

Ingrid 07-02-2007 10:58 PM

I've always called a purse a handbag, a tote is what Mason said, and a wallet is a wallet.:shrug:

Krystal 07-02-2007 11:17 PM

Well women and men use wallets equally. Women tend to carry their wallets in their purses along with everything else in there life.

And totes to purses to handbags and whatever other "bag" name you can come up with is just another variation of a bag.

Like a pair of pants can be slacks, or jeans or low rise, high rise, flared, skinny, wide leg, short... the name just indicates a slightly different style.

Totes tend to be larger with an open top.

Clutch - Purse without straps

Purse tends to have straps

so many variations for a bag. Which means one thing. So many more options for us to choose from!

You can also check out this page HandBag 101

the link should bring you to the glossary which will tell you about everything from bag types to even fabrics used in a list.

CCNZ 07-03-2007 04:31 AM

Thank you everyone :cheering:

Limey 07-03-2007 04:43 PM


'tis indeed confusing. If I said I'd lost my purse, I'd mean the small, leather, money wallet-type thing with a clasp - the one I keep my cash in. I wouldn't mean that I'd lost my handbag or my shoulder bag.

A tote bag to me, means a bag with long handles or something that used to be known as a 'duffle bag' (back in the mists of time) or a bag you can just get on your shoulder and have the rim of the thing under your arm.

I still find it odd that Americans say 'purse' for hand or shoulder bag and 'pocket book' for purse.

As the man said: 'Two countries divided by a common language.':passedout:

samm 07-03-2007 05:30 PM

Hi there! I'm in Canada. My Scottish grandfather called his money holding item a purse, as you do. Maybe it's a British term? In visiting the U.S.A., I hear what I call a purse, a handbag, being called a pocketbook. Which to me is something to read. I always have to think when I hear my sil talking about her pocketbook. Very confusing isn't it! :lol: We call handbags purses or handbags, interchangeably. And my wallet goes into mine. :think: And Mason's definition of a tote I agree with. Usually open and they can be larger than an everyday handbag. Purse. Some totes are huge, and I have a quite small one for knitting projects. Wallets are where I keep my money and cards. My grandfather's purse. Around and around we go!!! I can see why you are mixed up! Maybe you can see sizes on the patterns and that will help you decide? That's what I usually do. Good luck from another handbagpurse knitter! samm

Limey 07-03-2007 05:57 PM

Hi Samm

I think you're right about the pocket-book. Whenever I heard the term I used to think that it was a pocket-sized diary or calendar thingymebob.

All the Best

suzeeq 07-04-2007 12:30 AM

I think pocketbook is an East Coast thing. I had a friend from New Jersey who always called her purse a pocketbook. She called hamburger chopped meat, too.

My wallet contains my money, cards and DL. It goes in my pocket or a purse or tote bag.

Limey 07-04-2007 06:17 PM

Hi Suzeeq

You're right, I heard the term 'pocketbook' when I lived in Massachusetts. They also call a groundhog a woodchuck ... I'm just not saying what they called me!


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