Definition of punkah in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpʌŋkə/
Pronunciation: /ˈpʌŋkɑː/


1chiefly historical (In India) a large cloth fan on a frame suspended from the ceiling, moved backwards and forwards by pulling on a cord: [as modifier]: the punkah wallah fell asleep over his task
More example sentences
  • I could tell it was her because of the punkah wallah holding a large sign bearing the words ‘Tessa Jowell IS HERE’.
  • I so want to be oiled by a nice clean punkah wallah.
  • Back in town, among the most distinctive digs are the Hotel Sofitel Central, a palatial, seafront pavilion of louvres, punkah fans and armies of gardeners.
1.1Indian An electric fan.
Example sentences
  • You can imagine yourself in a stifling ballroom in Calcutta, full of feverish gaiety, while punkahs languidly stir the air.
  • Aware of the famous punkahs at Brisbane's Tattersalls Club, Addison's punkahs - his first - also form part of a strategy of passive environmental control.
  • An ideally positioned bar and lounge under an open-thatch roof is cooled by the silent swish of punkahs, and decorated in harmonious green, cream and ebony.


Via Hindi from Sanskrit pakṣaka, from pakṣa 'wing'.

Words that rhyme with punkah

bunker, hunker, lunker, spelunker

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pun¦kah

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