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See more synonyms for henna on Thesaurus.com
  1. an Asian shrub or small tree, Lawsonia inermis, of the loosestrife family, having elliptic leaves and fragrant flowers.
  2. a reddish-orange dye or cosmetic made from the leaves of this plant.
  3. a color midway between red-brown and orange-brown.
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verb (used with object), hen·naed, hen·na·ing.
  1. to tint or dye with henna.
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Origin of henna

First recorded in 1590–1600, henna is from the Arabic word hinnā'
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

fawn, ginger, tan, toast, amber, brick, nut, buff, coffee, drab, dust, bronze, bay, ecru, beige, rust, copper, cinnamon, russet, puce

Examples from the Web for henna

Historical Examples

  • The dyeing of the nails with henna is a very ancient custom.

    Museum of Antiquity

    L. W. Yaggy

  • When they are white, the end of the tail and the mane are dyed with henna.

  • Persons of standing also dye with henna their finger-nails and hands.

  • They smeared their faces with a dye, and painted their eyes with henna.

    Darkness and Dawn

    Frederic W. Farrar

  • Or the henna hills so far away, or the purple grass they chew.

British Dictionary definitions for henna


  1. a lythraceous shrub or tree, Lawsonia inermis, of Asia and N Africa, with white or reddish fragrant flowers
  2. a reddish dye obtained from the powdered leaves of this plant, used as a cosmetic and industrial dye
  3. a reddish-brown or brown colour
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  1. (tr) to dye with henna
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Archaic name (for senses 1, 2): camphire

Word Origin

C16: from Arabic hinnā'; see alkanet
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 henna


c.1600, "dye or cosmetic from the henna plant," from Arabic hinna, name for the small thorny tree (Egyptian Privet, Lawsonia inermis), the leaves of which are used to make the reddish dye; said to be of Persian origin. Related: Hennaed (1860).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper