ETYM French, prudish, originally, discreet, modest; shortened from Old Fren. prudefeme, preudefeme, a discreet or excellent woman; Old Fren. preu, prou, excellent, brave + de of + fete woman. Related to Prow, Prowess.
A person excessively concerned about propriety and decorum; SYN. puritan. especially; a woman who shows or affects extreme modesty.