General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Do you ever hear "pocketbook" anymore, meaning a woman's purse or handbag?

Asked by Jeruba (55315points) 1 month ago

If so or if not, what’s your general geographic area or location?

I haven’t heard the term “pocketbook” used in years, but I don’t know if that’s a matter of time (passage of decades) or space (East Coast vs. West).

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32 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I still say it sometimes. I think mostly older people from the northeast say it, but maybe it’s still common among all ages in that part of the country?

I remember when I moved to Maryland from New York in the late 1970’s and I thought it was so weird that in Maryland they called a pocketbook a purse. At that time a purse, how I defined it, was more like a wallet, but now I mostly use the word purse for my pocketbook. I use purse, pocketbook, and handbag interchangeably. They all sound normal to me.

I’m in Florida so I hear everything, because the whole country is in Florida. Some words people adjust to the local, like mostly people say soda not pop, but something like pocketbook I haven’t noticed it.

NoMore's avatar

I still refer to my wife’s little wallet as a pocketbook. She just uses it for credit cards and her lipstick and rouge thing. Whatever you call that stuff they put on their face. We’re in Texas.

Acrylic's avatar

Well, yeah, that’s what it is. America midwest.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Only on Judge Judy.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

No, I never hear it. I’m in Hawaii.

jca2's avatar

I’m in NY and we say pocketbook or handbag.

The NY Times had an interactive quiz a few years ago, that asked a bunch of questions about what you call certain items and it pinpointed where you were from by the terms you used. Handbag/pocketbook was one. A long sandwich was another (hoagie, wedge, sub). Sneakers/trainers/track shoes were another. I would link the quiz but I am not sure if there’s a paywall. I took it and it pinpointed very accurately where I was from.

janbb's avatar

I still say it and hear it here in the Northeast. Pocketbook or handbag, occasionally someone says purse.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 Do you think of a purse as a change/coin purse not a handbag?

jca2's avatar

I always thought of purse like a little coin purse, but I do hear people say it occasionally. I linked the quiz above.

Zaku's avatar

Not that I remember, but I also don’t hear many references to them. Usually it’s purse or bag.

“Pocketbook” sounds like a familiar word, that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear, but that I didn’t really know specifically what it referred to, other than some sort of book that goes in a pocket. Before you wrote what it meant (and when I’d only read the question title), I thought it meant a ledger or address book kept in a pocket or purse. Or maybe a notebook.

I’m on the West Coast.

Dig_Dug's avatar

I use the term purse or clutch, and East Coast.

JLeslie's avatar

I just took the quiz and I received an error. I don’t know if it’s just having a tech glitch, or if my answers were confusing. Several questions I had multiple answers, but had to pick one. I could answer all NY, mostly I use NY terms anyway.

One of my first Q’s that I asked on fluther was about different names for the same thing and how it varies by region or country. It’s still one of my favorite Q’s.

I thought I would note that most department stores call that area of the store the handbag department.

@Dig_Dug Clutch to me is very specifically a handbag without a shoulder, arm, or hand strap. A clutch can have a wrist strap, but often doesn’t.

Forever_Free's avatar

Long Long time ago.
“Your pocketbook is in the glove compartment.”

kruger_d's avatar

I’m in Midwest. I think of a woman’s wallet as a pocketbook. Anything larger is as a clutch, purse, or handbag. I does seem like a an old-fashioned term now.

flutherother's avatar

I’m in the UK and I never heard “pocketbook” to mean a woman’s purse or handbag.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie I agree about a clutch being a specific type of handbag, one without handles or a strap. A clutch is often something one would wear to a fancy event, like a gala, because they’re not large bags that can hold a lot, really just a phone, lipstick, some cash and credit cards. When wearing a fancy gown, it’s nicer to have a clutch than to have a bulky handbag/pocketbook with a strap. A clutch is small and usualy elegant.

Dig_Dug's avatar

@jca2 I’m small and usually elegant. ;)

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Love_my_doggie's avatar

I always have and always do use the word “pocketbook.” To me, a “purse” is a small item that holds change.

Northeasterner, for my entire life thus far.

Zissou's avatar

That was the pangram for NYT’s “Spelling Bee” puzzle today. Is that what prompted this question?

canidmajor's avatar

I don’t think I hear “pocketbook” much anymore, but I did in a younger day. “Purse” is the standard here, “handbag” really only in books.

Northeast US

JLeslie's avatar

Here’s that old Q with different words from different regions if anyone is interested.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I carried a purse until I decided not to in 2016. I carry everything important in my cell phone case. I could consider that a pocketbook.

Jeruba's avatar

@Zissou, yup. I wondered if someone would catch that. I tackle it at midnight (PDT) every night, when the new one is posted.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I still hear pocketbook. Purse is far more typical though. When I have ran security before at different places, men get wanded and frisked, women get wanded and purse searched. All bookbags, napsacks, backpacks too.
Southeast coast…

jca2's avatar

@SnipSnip Everyone here (NY Metro area) still uses a handbag/pocketbook. For me, personally, I don’t think my phone, wallet, keys and everything else would fit in my pockets. My phone might, but my wallet is definitely too big and if I didn’t carry a wallet, my cash and credit cards would probably migrate out of my pockets and get lost. I have another little carrier thing in the pocketbook/handbag which has more cards in it (license, registration, insurance cards, some gift cards, etc.) and I also carry lipstick, a pen, other stuff that definitely is not fitting in pocket(s).

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 Plus, tampons and pads. I don’t have to deal with that anymore thank goodness.

Not to mention many moms have all sorts of stuff in their pocketbooks for the family.

Not needing a purse is like going into a bathroom and there’s no trash can. Obviously, no women between the ages of 16 and 45 living there.

raum's avatar

I hear it occasionally. Usually from older generations. I’m in California.

RayaHope's avatar

Me and my mom say purse, my grandma says pocketbook.

SnipSnip's avatar

@jca2 I hear you. I most often have my purse in the trunk because I keep so much good stuff in it. But I do not “carry” a purse ever. All we wear down here is capris and tshirts. Today field capris are most popular because they have deep pockets plus a button-up pocket on the leg. Denim shirts with button breast pockets are worn a lot as well. Pockets galore if you dress right. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Y’all load yourselves up like kangaroos!

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