suttee

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suttee (sŭ´tē´, sŭ´tē´) [Skt. sati=faithful wife], former Indian funeral practice in which the widow immolated herself on her husband's funeral pyre. The practice of killing a favorite wife on her husband's grave has been found in many parts of the world; it was followed by such peoples as the Thracians, the Scythians, the ancient Egyptians, the Scandinavians, the Chinese, and peoples of Oceania and Africa. Suttee was probably taken over by Hinduism from a more ancient source. Its stated purpose was to expiate the sins of both husband and wife and to ensure the couple's reunion beyond the grave, but it was encouraged by the low regard in which widows were held. The practice was not universal throughout Hindu history. It was abolished by law in British India in 1829, but isolated cases of voluntary suttee have occurred into the 20th cent. See also funeral customs and suicide.

See E. J. Thompson, Suttee (1928).

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sut·tee / səˈtē; ˈsəˌtē/ (also sa·ti pronunc. same) • n. (pl. sut·tees; also sa·tis / səˈtēz; ˈsəˌtēz/ ) the former Hindu practice of a widow immolating herself on her husband's funeral pyre. ∎  a widow who committed such an act.

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suttee the former Hindu practice of a widow immolating herself on her husband's funeral pyre; a widow who committed such an act. The word, which is Hindi, comes from Sanskrit satī ‘faithful wife’, from sat ‘good’.

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suttee Hindu widow who immolated herself with her husband's body XVIII; such immolation XIX. — Hind. :- Skr. satī faithful wife, f. sat good, wise, lit. being, prp. of ásti is (see BE).

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Suttee (devotion through self-immolation of a widow): see SATĪ.

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suttee Former Indian custom of a widow throwing herself alive on to her husband's funeral pyre. Originally confined to royalty, it was forbidden (1829) under British rule.