seraglio

[si-ral-yoh, -rahl-]

noun, plural se·ragl·ios.

the part of a Muslim house or palace in which the wives and concubines are secluded; harem.
a Turkish palace, especially of the sultan.

Origin of seraglio

1575–85; < Italian serraglio < Persian sarāy palace; sense development in Italian perhaps influenced by serrare to lock up
Also called se·rail [suh-rahy, -rahyl, -reyl] /səˈraɪ, -ˈraɪl, -ˈreɪl/.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for seraglio

purdah, seraglio, serai, zenana

Examples from the Web for seraglio

Historical Examples of seraglio


British Dictionary definitions for seraglio

seraglio

serail (səˈraɪ, -ˈraɪl, -ˈreɪl)

noun plural -raglios or -rails

the harem of a Muslim house or palace
a sultan's palace, esp in the former Turkish empire
the wives and concubines of a Muslim

Word Origin for seraglio

C16: from Italian serraglio animal cage, from Medieval Latin serrāculum bolt, from Latin sera a door bar; associated also with Turkish seray palace
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 seraglio
n.

"harem," also the name of a former palace of the sultan in Istanbul, 1580s, from Italian seraglio, alteration of Turkish saray "palace, court," from Persian sara'i "palace, inn," from Iranian base *thraya- "to protect" (cf. Avestan thrayeinti "they protect"), from PIE *tra-, variant form of root *tere- "to cross over, pass through, overcome" (see through).

The Italian word probably reflects folk etymology influence of serraglio "enclosure, cage," from Medieval Latin serraculum "bung, stopper" (see serried).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper