[hair-uh m, har-, ha-reem]
[hair-uh m, har-]
- the part of a Muslim palace or house reserved for the residence of women.
- the women in a Muslim household, including the mother, sisters, wives, concubines, daughters, entertainers, and servants.
- 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.
- 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.
Sometimes ha·ram [hair-uh m, har-] /ˈhɛər əm, ˈhær-/, ha·reem, ha·rim [hah-reem] /hɑˈrim/.
Origin of harem
First recorded in 1625–35, harem is from the Arabic word harīm harem, literally, forbidden
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 because it implies that the man collects women like objects.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for harim
"By the beard of the Prophet—he was in my Harim," muttered the Effendi.
She rose quietly and tried the door of the dutap into the corridor which led to the Harim.
And so Marishka, once more balked in her enterprise, went back to the Harim.
He kissed her again, and then quickly, "The Harim is—where?"
What if Hugh were already at the foot of the stairs, waiting to knock upon the door of the Harim as she had directed?
- the part of an Oriental house reserved strictly for wives, concubines, etc
- a Muslim's wives and concubines collectively
- a group of female animals of the same species that are the mates of a single male
C17: from Arabic harīm forbidden (place)
Word Origin and History for harim
1630s, from Turkish harem, from Arabic haram "wives and concubines," originally "women's quarters," literally "something forbidden or kept safe," from root of harama "he guarded, forbade."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper