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[puh-rook] /pəˈruk/
a man's wig of the 17th and 18th centuries, usually powdered and gathered at the back of the neck with a ribbon; periwig.
Origin of peruke
First recorded in 1540-50, peruke is from the Middle French word perruque head of hair, wig, of disputed orig.
Related forms
peruked, adjective
perukeless, adjective
unperuked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for perukes
Historical Examples
  • To be a gentleman was a matter of silk breeches and perukes and late hours?

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • Wigs, perukes, or periwigs, were revived in the seventeenth century.

  • Cards and tables do offend him, and perukes do fall within the compass of his theme.

  • The divine was a man who placed charity above rubrics, and discarded bigotry as he did perukes.

  • Mrs. Archer went softly up to the maker of perukes, and whispered something in his ear.

    The Monctons Susanna Moodie
  • Further, send me eight confidential discreet men of my height and size, with eight perukes, exactly the cut of mine.

    Old Fritz and the New Era Louise Muhlbach
  • He describes these Horonites of wit as “magnificent fops, whose talents reach but to the adjusting of their perukes.”

  • Wig, said my master, he wants none; for his own venerable white locks are better than all the perukes in England.

    Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded Samuel Richardson
  • One of these perukes would sometimes cost forty or fifty pounds.

    The Town Leigh Hunt
  • Artificial hair, for the manufacture of perukes, is dyed in the same manner as wool.

    The Art of Perfumery G. W. Septimus Piesse
British Dictionary definitions for perukes


a type of wig for men, fashionable in the 17th and 18th centuries Also called periwig
Word Origin
C16: from French perruque, from Italian perrucca wig, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for perukes



1540s, "natural head of hair," from Middle French perruque (late 15c.), from Italian perrucca "head of hair, wig," of uncertain origin; supposed by some to be connected to Latin pilus "hair," "but the phonetic difficulties are considerable" [OED]. Meaning "artificial head of hair, periwig" is attested from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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