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1580s, pagode (modern form from 1630s), from Portuguese pagode (early 16c.), perhaps from a corruption of Persian butkada, from but "idol" + kada "dwelling." Or perhaps from or influenced by Tamil pagavadi "house belonging to a deity," from Sanskrit bhagavati "goddess," fem. of bhagavat "blessed, adorable," from *bhagah "good fortune," from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion" (cf. Greek phagein "to eat;" see -phagous).
A tower with several different stories, each of which has its own roof. Pagodas are common in eastern Asia and originally served religious purposes as memorials or shrines.