or za·na·na


noun (in India)

the part of the house in which the women and girls of a family are secluded.
its occupants collectively.

Origin of zenana

1755–65; < Hindi < Persian zanāna, female, pertaining to women, adj. derivative of zan woman; cognate with Sanskrit jani woman, wife, Greek gynḗ, OCS žena, Old English cwēn woman, wife; see queen
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for zenana

purdah, seraglio, serai

Examples from the Web for zenana

Historical Examples of zenana

  • But in visiting a zenana I only saw the inhabitants of that one house.

    A Missionary Twig

    Emma L. Burnett

  • “Now I will tell you something of zenana visiting,” she said.

    A Missionary Twig

    Emma L. Burnett

  • She offered her hand tremblingly, and led Gascoigne into the zenana.

    Mr. Midshipman Easy

    Captain Frederick Marryat

  • Other interesting conveyances are those in which the zenana ladies travel.

  • The Khan then returned to the zenana, where Lurlee Khnum met him.


    Philip Meadows Taylor

British Dictionary definitions for zenana



(in the East, esp in Muslim and Hindu homes) part of a house reserved for the women and girls of a household

Word Origin for zenana

C18: from Hindi zanāna, from Persian, from zan woman
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