One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(in India) a large cloth fan on a frame suspended from the ceiling, moved backwards and forwards by pulling on a cord.as modifier ‘the punkah wallah fell asleep over his task’
- ‘I could tell it was her because of the punkah wallah holding a large sign bearing the words ‘Tessa Jowell IS HERE’.’
- ‘Back in town, among the most distinctive digs are the Hotel Sofitel Central, a palatial, seafront pavilion of louvres, punkah fans and armies of gardeners.’
- ‘I so want to be oiled by a nice clean punkah wallah.’
- ‘A retired punkah staggers from one pulley to the other.’
- 1.1Indian An electric fan.
air cooler, air conditioner, ventilator, blower, aeratorView synonyms
- ‘Aware of the famous punkahs at Brisbane's Tattersalls Club, Addison's punkahs - his first - also form part of a strategy of passive environmental control.’
- ‘You can imagine yourself in a stifling ballroom in Calcutta, full of feverish gaiety, while punkahs languidly stir the air.’
- ‘There was a pause during which I seemed to hear the regular gentle swish of the punkah and the steady buzzing of the cicadas in the sandalwood trees.’
- ‘An ideally positioned bar and lounge under an open-thatch roof is cooled by the silent swish of punkahs, and decorated in harmonious green, cream and ebony.’
Via Hindi from Sanskrit pakṣaka, from pakṣa ‘wing’.
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