Definition of periwig in English:



  • 1A wig.

    • ‘He scuttled ahead to hold open the door, moving so jerkily that his periwig slipped down over his forehead.’
    • ‘The small party was conspicuous enough to be identified by a group of German tourists outside Paris, so they took the precaution of buying periwigs to thicken their disguises.’
    1. 1.1 A highly styled wig worn formerly as a fashionable headdress by both women and men and retained by judges and barristers as part of their professional dress.
      • ‘During the Restoration its rooms saw many grand assemblies (at one, Samuel Pepys burnt his periwig on a candle).’
      • ‘The front door opened and Herr von Rogoff emerged, dressed in a black coat and a stiff gray periwig that put me in mind of a portrait of a great-grandfather I had once seen.’
      • ‘The periwig, adopted from French fashion after the Restoration, not only concealed baldness or reduced head-lice (since the natural hair was close-cropped or shaved) but was worn to enhance dignity.’
      • ‘Some seem silly now, like his campaign to rid the New World of periwigs.’
      • ‘How many of today's children know what a periwig is, let alone a waistcoat made of paduasoy?’


Early 16th century: alteration of peruke, with -wi- representing the French -u- sound.