sut·​tee (ˌ)sə-ˈtē How to pronounce suttee (audio)
variants or less commonly sati
: the act or custom of a Hindu widow burning herself to death or being burned to death on the funeral pyre of her husband
also : a woman burned to death in this way

Word History


Hindi satī wife who performs suttee, from Sanskrit, devoted woman, from feminine of sat true, good; akin to Old English sōth true — more at sooth

First Known Use

1786, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of suttee was in 1786

Dictionary Entries Near suttee

Cite this Entry

“Suttee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on suttee

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!