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See more synonyms for pagoda on Thesaurus.com
  1. (in India, Burma, China, etc.) a temple or sacred building, usually a pyramidlike tower and typically having upward-curving roofs over the individual stories.
  2. any of several former gold or silver coins of southern India, usually bearing a figure of such a temple, first issued in the late 16th century and later also by British, French, and Dutch traders.
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Origin of pagoda

1625–35; < Portuguese pagode temple ≪ Persian butkada (but idol + kada temple, dwelling)
Related formspa·go·da·like, adjectivesub·pa·go·da, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for pagoda

Historical Examples

  • Not till he had promised all this did the Buddha let him out of the pagoda again.

    The Chinese Fairy Book


  • The Pagoda might be an erroneous variant of the thunderbolt Vadjra.

  • With them he returned the following morning and they climbed up into the pagoda.

  • Looking down from her pagoda she saw a wanderer passing below.

  • She called out, but the pagoda was so high that her voice did not carry down to him.

British Dictionary definitions for pagoda


  1. an Indian or Far Eastern temple, esp a tower, usually pyramidal and having many storeys
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Word Origin

C17: from Portuguese pagode, ultimately from Sanskrit bhagavatī divine
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

Word Origin and History for pagoda


1580s, pagode (modern form from 1630s), from Portuguese pagode (early 16c.), perhaps from a corruption of Persian butkada, from but "idol" + kada "dwelling." Or perhaps from or influenced by Tamil pagavadi "house belonging to a deity," from Sanskrit bhagavati "goddess," fem. of bhagavat "blessed, adorable," from *bhagah "good fortune," from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion" (cf. Greek phagein "to eat;" see -phagous).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pagoda in Culture


A tower with several different stories, each of which has its own roof. Pagodas are common in eastern Asia and originally served religious purposes as memorials or shrines.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.