Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who is excessively concerned with being or appearing to be proper, modest, or righteous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who is or tries to be excessively proper, especially one who is easily offended by matters of a sexual nature.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A woman of affected modesty, reserve, or coyness; one who is overscrupulous or sensitive; one who affects extraordinary prudence in conduct and speech.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A woman who affects rigid correctness in conduct and thought; one who exhibits extreme propriety or coyness in behavior: occasionally applied also to a man.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a person excessively concerned about propriety and decorum

Etymologies

French, short for prude femme, virtuous woman : Old French prude, feminine of prud, virtuous; see proud + French femme, woman (from Latin fēmina; see feminine).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French prude, from Old French prude, prode, feminine of prou, prod, prud ("good, excellent, brave"), from Latin. Related to proud but unrelated to prudent. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I read once that a prude is a good woman in the worst sense of the word.

    How good is good?

  • "Oh, there you are out, indeed, cousin Wright! she's more of what they call a prude than a coquette."

    Tales and Novels — Volume 02

  • Under the article on “Deshoulières” the compiler pretends that lady was the same who was designated under the term prude (précieuse) in Boileau’s satire upon women.

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • Similarly, although nobody wants to be called a prude, one could hardly deny that being offended by non-abstinence sex education, pre-marital sex, and homosexuality is objectively anti-sex (that is to say: unmarried, non-heterosexual, and/or kinky sex).

    Matthew Yglesias » Also: The Sky Is Blue

  • I was called a prude yesterday because I loathe those commercials where the little baby talks like a grown-up, and acts like a jerk.

    Valentine's Day Fun - SpouseBUZZ

  • Whether I have a heart or not I will leave you to find out for yourself; but I won't be called a prude by you.

    Can You Forgive Her?

  • The city of Ingres may be thought of by itself; there is plenty of food for reflection here without recalling the prude whose virtue caused more mischief than the vices of all the Montespans and Dubarrys put together.

    In the Heart of the Vosges And Other Sketches by a "Devious Traveller"

  • 'The Bachelor' week 6 recap: Courtney goes topless, but Ben ironically overwhelmed by overeager Blakely, Jamie While the model was busy bringing her A-game, the other women were moving at a much-slower, 'prude'-like pace ABC

    NYDN Rss

  • I suppose the prude was afraid of my demolishing and unrigging her. '

    Belinda

  • The comedians were funnier that I expected, but without a doubt, the prude was the show stealer.

    N*ked On the Roof...

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