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An elephant bearing a howdah.

Alternative forms[edit]


Hindi हौदा (haudā), from Arabic هَوْدَج (hawdaj, litter carried by a camel) (1774).



howdah (plural howdahs)

  1. A seat, usually with a canopy, carried on the back of an elephant or camel.
    • 1938, Raja Rao, Kanthapura:
      They don't ask for palanquins and howdahs.
    • 1972, Patrick O'Brian, Post Captain:
      I shot a couple [] Only from the safety of a howdah, of course.
    • 1993, Will Self, My Idea of Fun:
      I felt the corporeal elephant on whose back my world was supported amble effortlessly along, rather than it being necessary for me to lean out from the howdah of my head and goad him.
  2. An ornate carriage which is positioned on the back of elephants or occasionally other animals, used most often in the past for rich people who travelled in India via elephant.


  • Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: Tenth Edition (1997)