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purdah definitions

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: a state of social isolation [syn: solitude, purdah]
2: the traditional Hindu or Muslim system of keeping women secluded [syn: purdah, sex segregation]
3: a screen used in India to separate women from men or strangers

Merriam Webster's

noun Etymology: Hindi & Urdu parda, literally, screen, veil Date: 1865 1. seclusion of women from public observation among Muslims and some Hindus especially in India 2. a state of seclusion or concealment

Britannica Concise

Seclusion of women from public observation by means of concealing clothing (incl. the veil) and walled enclosures as well as screens and curtains within the home. The custom seems to have originated in Persia and was adopted by Muslims during the Arab conquest of what is now Iraq in the 7th cent. The Muslim domination of N India led to its adoption by the Hindu upper classes, but it was discarded by Hindus after the end of British rule in India. The custom of purdah still continues in many Islamic countries.

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n. Ind. 1 a system in certain Muslim and Hindu societies of screening women from strangers by means of a veil or curtain. 2 a curtain in a house, used for this purpose. Etymology: Urdu & Pers. pardah veil, curtain

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Purdah Pur"dah, n. [Per. parda a curtain.] A curtain or screen; also, a cotton fabric in blue and white stripes, used for curtains. --McElrath.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

Purdah is a custom practised in some Muslim and Hindu societies, in which women either remain in a special part of the house or cover their faces and bodies to avoid being seen by men who are not related to them. If a woman is in purdah, she lives according to this custom. N-UNCOUNT: oft in N


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