a person who is excessively proper or modest in speech, conduct, dress, etc.

Origin of prude

1695–1705; < French prude a prude (noun), prudish (adj.), short for prudefemme, Old French prodefeme worthy or respectable woman. See proud, feme
Related formsprude·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for prude

puritan, goody-goody, Victorian

Examples from the Web for prude

Contemporary Examples of prude

Historical Examples of prude

  • Angioletto could not decide whether to think him rogue or prude.

    Little Novels of Italy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • "For Heaven's sake, don't be a prude, Moya," Joyce snapped irritably.

    The Highgrader

    William MacLeod Raine

  • And apparently the girl was far from being a prude or a snob.

    A Soldier of the Legion

    C. N. Williamson

  • Oh, I dare say they'd make a good team,—one's a prude and the other a prig.

    Under Fire

    Charles King

  • So much that people thought her cold, some even pronouncing her a prude.

    The Free Lances

    Mayne Reid

British Dictionary definitions for prude



a person who affects or shows an excessively modest, prim, or proper attitude, esp regarding sex
Derived Formsprudish, adjectiveprudishly, adverbprudishness or prudery, noun

Word Origin for prude

C18: from French, from prudefemme, from Old French prode femme respectable woman; see proud
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 prude

1704, "woman who affects or upholds modesty in a degree considered excessive," from French prude "excessively prim or demure woman," first recorded in Molière. Perhaps a false back-formation or an ellipsis of preudefemme "a discreet, modest woman," from Old French prodefame "noblewoman, gentlewoman; wife, consort," fem. equivalent of prudhomme "a brave man" (see proud); or perhaps a direct noun use of the French adjective prude "prudish," from Old French prude, prode, preude "good, virtuous, modest," a feminine form of the adjective preux. Also occasionally as an adjective in English 18c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper