punkah

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n punkah a large fan consisting of a frame covered with canvas that is suspended from the ceiling; used in India for circulating air in a room
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Punkah a large fan for cooling the air of an Indian house, consisting of a light framework covered with cloth and suspended from the ceiling of a room, worked by pulling a cord or by machinery.
    • ***

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Hind. pankha, a fan.

Usage

In literature:

He cast his eyes up to the punkah and that was all.
"The Shadow-Line" by Joseph Conrad
Between them a waggling punkah fanned twenty cane-bottomed chairs and two rows of shiny plates.
"Falk" by Joseph Conrad
He kept the punkah-coolie perpetually at his task.
"The Lamp in the Desert" by Ethel M. Dell
Overhead the punkahs swung back and forth in lazy hypnotic rhythm.
"African Camp Fires" by Stewart Edward White
Besides, you've got your own reading to do, and you didn't come to Chatsea as my punkah walla.
"The Altar Steps" by Compton MacKenzie
Even the private soldier in Singapore has a punkah pulled over his bed at night.
"A Voyage in the 'Sunbeam'" by Annie Allnut Brassey
Swaying slowly back and forth was a sort of miniature punkah of waving white canvas.
"The Miracle Man" by Frank L. Packard
There was a punkah hanging from the ceiling, but it stood at rest.
"Civilization" by Ellen Newbold La Motte
The punkah, a necessary appendage of every house, is worthy of description.
"Mark Seaworth" by William H.G. Kingston
I have long wished to see a punkah, now I wish I may never see another!
"From Edinburgh to India & Burmah" by William G. Burn Murdoch
The absence of a punkah, a necessity to which he was accustomed, was also a trial.
"From Jungle to Java" by Arthur Keyser
We all looked up at the punkah.
"Tales of the Malayan Coast" by Rounsevelle Wildman
F., while the spectators were sitting under punkahs.
"Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan Frontier" by T. L. Pennell
Punkahs waved over us at dinner.
"The English in the West Indies" by James Anthony Froude
They are not affected by wind; they can therefore be used under punkahs, or near open windows, sky-lights, or ports, or in the open air.
"Wrinkles in Electric Lighting" by Vincent Stephen
The nigger-boy let go the punkah string and sprang to his feet.
"Harry Milvaine" by Gordon Stables
Inside, the droning whine of the punkah mocks him throughout the weary day, as it scarcely stirs the heated air.
"Life in an Indian Outpost" by Gordon Casserly
And set the punkah going again.
"Carlyon Sahib" by Gilbert Murray
Great punkahs, moved by invisible hands, depended from the roof, and, waving to and fro, kept us cool.
"Shireen and her Friends" by Gordon Stables
There was a stir in the verandah, a sudden waking to renewed effort on the part of the punkah coolie, resulting in a general breeziness.
"The Flower of Forgiveness" by Flora Annie Steel
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In poetry:

April began with the punkah, coolies, and prickly-heat, —
Pagett was dear to mosquitoes, sandflies found him a treat.
He grew speckled and mumpy-hammered, I grieve to say,
Aryan brothers who fanned him, in an illiberal way.
"Pagett, M.P." by Rudyard Kipling