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View synonyms for harem

harem

[ hair-uhm, har- ]

noun

  1. the part of a Muslim palace or house reserved for the residence of women.
  2. the women in a Muslim household, including the mother, sisters, wives, concubines, daughters, entertainers, and servants.
  3. Animal Behavior. a social group of females, as elephant seals, accompanied or followed by one fertile male who denies other males access to the group.
  4. Facetious: Sometimes Offensive. a group of women associated in any way with one man or household:

    I really resent it when our boss refers to us as his harem, though he's trying to be funny.



harem

/ hɑːˈriːm; hɑːˈriːm; ˈhɛərəm /

noun

  1. the part of an Oriental house reserved strictly for wives, concubines, etc
  2. a Muslim's wives and concubines collectively
  3. a group of female animals of the same species that are the mates of a single male


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Usage Note

In the meaning “a group of women associated with one man,” harem is used for humorous effect. But this sense is sometimes perceived as insulting by or to women because it implies that the man collects women like objects.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of harem1

First recorded in 1625–35; from Turkish ḥarem “female quarters,” from Arabic ḥarīm “sacred or inviolable space, sanctuary; female members of a family; harem,” literally, “forbidden,” from ḥarama “to prohibit, deny”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of harem1

C17: from Arabic harīm forbidden (place)

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Example Sentences

He discussed how, during his first meeting with his now-longtime intimacy coach, he brought up the possibility of having a harem of beautiful women to travel with and care for.

Other species have sex-specific mating and courtship strategies, like harem defense by male gorillas, or mating dances.

But when she opened the door, a harem of toned and dreaded hip-hop dancers were lounging on couches staring at her.

Jillian Lauren is the author of The New York Times bestseller Some Girls: My Life in a Harem.

Three years ago, fashion would have labeled these the new harem pant, but now that moment is over.

Mitchell is also a fundamentalist Mormon who had his eye on the then-14-year-old Smart to be the first of a harem of wives.

Harem pants were a well-tailored sport jacket compared to jeggings.

A harem's a bo'd'n-house, I reck'n.  Mos' likely dey has rackety times in de nussery.

When she stepped past the nodding eunuchs who were standing guard at the harem entrance, she felt a little quiver.

I shall in time grow sleepy, fat, and in a poor way contented; for such is the manner of the harem.

When Iftikhar returned to El Halebah, the fire had utterly destroyed the wing of the palace containing the harem.

On this harem he spent a hundred million francs, or twenty million dollars.

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