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or houdah

[hou-duh] /ˈhaʊ də/
(in the East Indies) a seat or platform for one or more persons, commonly with a railing and a canopy, placed on the back of an elephant.
Origin of howdah
1765-75; < Hindi haudah < Arabic hawdaj Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for howdah
Historical Examples
  • We could see the peon in the howdah leaning over the front bar, and eagerly peering into the recesses of the thicket before him.

  • He enters the howdah—the elephant rises—the procession starts.

    For Love of the King Oscar Wilde
  • There was the lady's camel, with a howdah on its back hung with curtains of damask and gold.

  • Do you think the first tiger I see will get into my howdah and maul me?

    Gil the Gunner George Manville Fenn
  • In Siam the howdah is a great roofed basket, in which the traveller, with the aid of his cushions, comfortably ensconces himself.

    Siam George B. Bacon
  • He had no howdah, as that is not necessary, except for ladies.

  • Chilled with the nearness of death, Nelson counted six mail-clad warriors in the howdah.

  • I was not in a howdah, but on a pad; and the tiger struck one of its forepaws on my knee.

    The Lost Heir G. A. Henty
  • Should it pass under trees, it happens occasionally that a branch sweeps its riders with their howdah from its back.

    Norman Vallery W.H.G. Kingston
  • Ainslie took the Colonel in his howdah; and Mrs Ainslie shared mine.

    Life in an Indian Outpost Gordon Casserly
British Dictionary definitions for howdah


a seat for riding on an elephant's back, esp one with a canopy
Word Origin
C18: from Hindi haudah, from Arabic haudaj load carried by elephant or camel
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
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Word Origin and History for howdah

1774, from Persian and Urdu haudah, from Arabic haudaj "litter carried by a camel" (or elephant).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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