Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday October 18, 2000
purdah \PUR-duh\ , noun:
1. A curtain, screen, or veil shielding women from the sight of men or strangers in Hindu and Muslim communities.
2. A striped cotton cloth from which a curtain is made, often blue and white.
3. The system of secluding Hindu or Muslim women.
4. A state of seclusion or concealment; social seclusion.
Like many girls in northern India she had been raised in purdah, tutored in the seclusion of the women's quarters by a succession of women, including a Scottish governess.
-- Gita Mehta, Snakes and Ladders: Glimpses of Modern India
The big evolution is that when trousers are low cut, shirts and, rather curiously, jackets are tucked into them. The belly button has finally gone into purdah, so it wasn't all bad news last week.
-- Sinead Lynch, "The waist land", Times (London), October 9, 2000
The erotic works . . . are in purdah, as it were, exhibited upstairs in a gallery presciently redecorated with red-velvet walls, from which children are excluded.
-- Selma G. Lanes, "Peck's Bad Boy of Art", New York Times, May 24, 1981
Never have artists been more separate: their inordinate fame, wealth, drug use have driven them into luxurious purdah.
-- D. Keith Mano
Purdah is from Urdu, from Persian pardah, curtain, veil.