[ puh-goh-duh ]
See synonyms for pagoda on
  1. in India, Myanmar (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.

Origin of pagoda

First recorded in 1625–35; from Portuguese pagode “temple,” ultimately from Persian butkada (but “idol” + kada “temple, dwelling”)

Other words from pagoda

  • pa·go·da·like, adjective
  • sub·pa·go·da, noun

Words Nearby pagoda Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pagoda in a sentence

  • I was informed that this pagoda was formerly one of the most celebrated in China, but it has long ceased to be used.

  • The villages we visited, resembled more or less, that we had seen near the Half-way pagoda.

  • The Herren pagoda has three stories, with a pointed roof, and is distinguished for its external sculpture.

  • A single pagoda, five stories high, reminded us of the peculiar character of Chinese architecture.

  • But a man can go over to the pagoda, and tell 'em 'All things are one,' and get three hundred identical opinions to agree with.

    The Belted Seas | Arthur Colton

British Dictionary definitions for pagoda


/ (pəˈɡəʊdə) /

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

Origin of pagoda

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

Cultural definitions for pagoda


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.

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.