noun (in India, Pakistan, etc.)
the seclusion of women from the sight of men or strangers, practiced by some Muslims and Hindus.
a screen, curtain, or veil used for this purpose.
Also, purda, pardah.

1790–1800; < Hindi, Urdu pardah curtain < Persian

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World English Dictionary
purdah or purda (ˈpɜːdə)
1.  the custom in some Muslim and Hindu communities of keeping women in seclusion, with clothing that conceals them completely when they go out
2.  a screen in a Hindu house used to keep the women out of view
3.  a veil worn by Hindu women of high caste
4.  informal hiding or isolation: the Treasury is currently locked in pre-budget purdah
[C19: from Hindi parda veil, from Persian pardah]
purda or purda
[C19: from Hindi parda veil, from Persian pardah]

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