[ si-ral-yoh, -rahl- ]
See synonyms for seraglio on
noun,plural se·ragl·ios.
  1. the part of a Muslim house or palace in which the wives and concubines are secluded; harem.

  2. 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/. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use seraglio in a sentence

  • Women, in Constantinople, are confined in seraglios for life, or shut up in their apartments.

  • Their chiefs and princes have, besides, large harems or seraglios where domestic rivalship imbitters existence.

  • In this sense it is frequently used at Constantinople: the houses of foreign ambassadors are called seraglios.

  • I am persuaded, by different circumstances, that Byron could not have been in those sacred chambers of any of the seraglios.

  • And there are sultans and sultanas and seraglios existing in England under English forms.

    Getting Married | George Bernard Shaw

British Dictionary definitions for seraglio


serail (səˈraɪ, -ˈraɪl, -ˈreɪl)

/ (sɛˈrɑːlɪˌəʊ) /

nounplural -raglios or -rails
  1. the harem of a Muslim house or palace

  2. a sultan's palace, esp in the former Turkish empire

  1. the wives and concubines of a Muslim

Origin of 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