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

  • noun The now illegal act or practice of a Hindu widow's cremating herself on her husband's funeral pyre in order to fulfill her true role as wife.
  • noun A widow who commits such an act.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A Hindu widow who immolates herself on the funeral pile, either with the body of her husband, or separately if he died at a distance.
  • noun The voluntary self-immolation of Hindu widows on the funeral pile of their husbands according to a Brahmanical rite.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun India A Hindoo widow who immolates herself, or is immolated, on the funeral pile of her husband; -- so called because this act of self-immolation is regarded as envincing excellence of wifely character.
  • noun India The act of burning a widow on the funeral pile of her husband.

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

  • noun The custom and/or act of a Hindu woman giving herself up to be cremated on her husband’s funeral pyre as a sign of her devotion to her late spouse.

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

  • noun the act of a Hindu widow willingly cremating herself on the funeral pyre of her dead husband


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

[Sanskrit satī, virtuous woman, suttee, from feminine present participle of asti, s-, she is, is true; see es- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Sanskrit सती (satī́, "good and virtuous or faithful wife"), from सत् (sát, "true, good, right etc."). In English usage since 1786.


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  • "'We got ter clean up the battlefield.' Bombardier Fuller, known back home as 'Stop thief', is passing on the commands of our Major. Soon, carol-singing gunners are roaming muddy fields gathering fag ends, packets, bottles, dead mules, tins, and place them on a funeral pyre. As the flames roar up, a cry, 'Anyone for suttee?'"

    - Spike Milligan, 'Mussolini: My Part In His Downfall.'

    May 14, 2009

  • an innapropriate sort of romanization, in that it makes what ought never to sound...cute (like a diminutive item of furniture or perhaps a dessert)

    I had hoped it was just Naipaul being creative, but plenty of precedent for this form exists, as it turns out.

    November 25, 2009