Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun a person excessively concerned about propriety and decorum

Etymologies

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

[French, back-formation (influenced by prudent, prudent) from prud'homme, preudhomme, man of merit, virtuous man (from Old French prozdome, preud'ome : proz, preu, valiant, virtuous from Vulgar Latin *prōdis, from Latin prōde, advantageous; see proud + de, of + home, man) or obsolete French preudefemme, woman of merit, virtuous woman (from Old French prodefemme, formed from femme, woman, on the model of prozdome, preud'ome, man of merit).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

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"

  • 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 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

  • '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

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