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or purda, pardah

[pur-duh] /ˈpɜr də/
noun, (in India, Pakistan, etc.)
the seclusion of women from the sight of men or strangers, practiced by some Muslims and Hindus.
a screen, curtain, or veil used for this purpose.
Origin of purdah
1790-1800; < Hindi, Urdu pardah curtain < Persian Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for purdah
Historical Examples
  • At the end of the room was a purdah or curtain, and behind it people were talking.

  • He had not been backward, however, in awakening his grandfather to purdah manœuvres.

    Far to Seek Maud Diver
  • Anybody would think, to listen to some people, that the purdah flourished in Chelsea.

    The Roll-Call Arnold Bennett
  • The purdah rustled, and the speech was cut short by the entry of a little, thin woman with big rings round her eyes.

  • A male doctor attending a zenana lady would put his hand between the purdah to feel her pulse.

  • With these words she left Ahmed as he lifted the purdah, having followed him as far as her woman's feet were permitted to go.

    In Kali's Country

    Emily Churchill Thompson Sheets
  • The friendliest were baffled by her incomprehensible lack of social instinct, the fruit of India's purdah system.

    Far to Seek Maud Diver
  • "You see the child came regularly to my purdah parties," she explained to Roy, who was impatient no longer, only absorbed.

    Far to Seek Maud Diver
  • Half-a-dozen of them screamed that two of us were white men who had trespassed within the purdah, and that we should be killed.

    Caves of Terror

    Talbot Mundy
  • purdah, pur′d, n. a curtain screening a chamber of state or the women's apartments: the seclusion itself.

British Dictionary definitions for purdah


the custom in some Muslim and Hindu communities of keeping women in seclusion, with clothing that conceals them completely when they go out
a screen in a Hindu house used to keep the women out of view
a veil worn by Hindu women of high caste
(informal) hiding or isolation: the Treasury is currently locked in pre-budget purdah
Word Origin
C19: from Hindi parda veil, from Persian pardah
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 purdah

1800, from Urdu and Persian pardah "veil, curtain," from Old Persian pari "around, over" (from PIE *per- (1); see per-) + da- "to place", from PIE *dhe- "to set, put" (see factitious).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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