caravansary

[kar-uh-van-suh-ree]
noun, plural car·a·van·sa·ries.
  1. (in the Near East) an inn, usually with a large courtyard, for the overnight accommodation of caravans.
  2. any large inn or hotel.
Also car·a·van·se·rai [kar-uh-van-suh-rahy, -rey] /ˌkær əˈvæn səˌraɪ, -ˌreɪ/.

Origin of caravansary

1590–1600; < French caravanserai < Persian kārwānsarāy, equivalent to kārwān caravan + sarāy mansion, inn
Related formscar·a·van·se·ri·al [kar-uh-van-seer-ee-uh l] /ˌkær ə vænˈsɪər i əl/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of caravanserai


British Dictionary definitions for caravanserai

caravanserai

caravansary (ˌkærəˈvænsərɪ)

noun plural -rais or -ries
  1. (in some Eastern countries esp formerly) a large inn enclosing a courtyard providing accommodation for caravans

Word Origin for caravanserai

C16: from Persian kārwānsarāī caravan inn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for caravanserai
n.

1590s, carvanzara, "Eastern inn (with a large central court) catering to caravans," ultimately from Persian karwan-sarai, from karwan (see caravan) + sara'i "palace, mansion; inn," from Iranian base *thraya- "to protect" (see seraglio).

caravansary

n.

alternative spelling of caravanserai.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper