Definition of prude in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /pro͞od/


A person who is or claims to be easily shocked by matters relating to sex or nudity.
Example sentences
  • Ms Sheppard said: ‘People tend to think of the Victorians as prudes but this dress is quite revealing.’
  • He was neither a prude nor a Puritan, but he was scornful of self-indulgence, and though he earned a reputation as the champion of the poor, it was only of the deserving and never of the idle.
  • Leland Ryken in his book on the Puritans, Worldly Saints, has shown by extensive quotes that the Puritans were anything but prudes about sex.
puritan, prig, killjoy, moralist, pietist
informal goody-goody



Pronunciation: /ˈpro͞od(ə)rē/
Example sentences
  • Victorian prudery did the rest, followed in quick succession by an unhealthy determination to class sexual congress as obscene and therefore not to be discussed, far less celebrated.
  • It is also where the prudery of a later time has obviously crept in; the sculptures all seem lack-lustre and no sexual connotations are to be found here.
  • I grew up in those supposedly halcyon days before World War II, and what I mainly remember was the repressive prudery in all matters sexual.


Early 18th century: from French, back-formation from prudefemme, feminine of prud'homme 'good man and true', from prou 'worthy'.

  • The old French word prudefemme, which was applied to a modest and respectable woman, was the source of prude in the early 18th century. This was the female equivalent of French prud'homme ‘a good man and true’. The English word was used in a more negative sense than the French one, describing an excessively prim and demure woman, and is now applied to either sex.

Words that rhyme with prude

allude, brood, collude, conclude, crude, delude, dude, elude, étude, exclude, extrude, exude, feud, food, illude, include, intrude, Jude, lewd, mood, nude, obtrude, occlude, Oudh, preclude, protrude, pseud, pultrude, rood, rude, seclude, shrewd, snood, transude, unglued, unsubdued, who'd, you'd

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: prude

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.