"self-cremation of a Hindu widow on her husband's funeral pyre," 1786, from Hindi, from Sanskrit sati "virtuous woman, faithful wife," the word for the self-immolating widow, used also of her burning, fem. of sat "good, wise, virtuous, true," literally "existing," present participle of asmi "I am" (from PIE root *es- "to be"). Properly, the word for the woman who does so. The custom was abolished in British India in 1829.
updated on September 07, 2022