a. A curtain or screen, used mainly in India to keep women separate from men or strangers.
b. The Hindu or Muslim system of sex segregation, practiced especially by keeping women in seclusion.
2. Social seclusion: "Never have artists been more separate: their inordinate fame, wealth, drug use have driven them into luxurious purdah" (D. Keith Mano).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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