Definition of purdah in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpərdə/


1The practice among women in certain Muslim and Hindu societies of living in a separate room or behind a curtain, or of dressing in all-enveloping clothes, in order to stay out of the sight of men or strangers: he required them to observe purdah she was supposed to be in purdah upstairs
More example sentences
  • The idea that if one gives up a customary religious practice such as purdah, that one is ceasing to be a Muslim altogether is an egregious misrepresentation of what it takes to be a Muslim.
  • More than purdah impacting a Muslim woman's mobility, it is the attitude of the men that puts shackles on their mobility - for education or work.
  • He deprecated the practice of purdah and sati, encouraged inter-caste alliances and remarriage of widows.
1.1A curtain used for screening off women.
Example sentences
  • The memory of his grandmother's rousing speech to the electorate from behind the purdah when his mother contested in the elections is the event he recalls as the most moving in his life.
  • Learn to read, and while you are seated behind the purdah you may make a tour of the whole world.
1.2A state of seclusion or secrecy: the supermarket’s own self-imposed purdah on the GM issue expect the lawyers to re-emerge from their temporary purdah when the legislation is published
More example sentences
  • He has barely been seen or heard in the media since he went into purdah in the wake of the donation revelations.
  • Do they want him to go around hanging his head in shame, in some sort of judicial purdah?
  • Although in the forties, women in the "family way" were no longer confined to their homes to conceal their delicate conditions, those conditions were still confined to a kind of cinematic purdah.


Early 19th century: from Urdu and Persian parda 'veil, curtain'.

Words that rhyme with purdah


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pur·dah

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