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[kar-uh-van-suh-ree] /ˌkær əˈvæn sə ri/
noun, plural caravansaries.
(in the Near East) an inn, usually with a large courtyard, for the overnight accommodation of caravans.
any large inn or hotel.
Also, caravanserai
[kar-uh-van-suh-rahy, -rey] /ˌkær əˈvæn səˌraɪ, -ˌreɪ/ (Show IPA)
Origin of caravansary
1590-1600; < French caravanserai < Persian kārwānsarāy, equivalent to kārwān caravan + sarāy mansion, inn
Related forms
[kar-uh-van-seer-ee-uh l] /ˌkær ə vænˈsɪər i əl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for caravansary
  • Here and there you see the arch of a caravansary, where for centuries traders stopped to refresh their animals.
  • Walk up past the old caravansary and follow the signs to the castle to enjoy spectacular views of the city, mountains and sea.
  • At one big caravansary the duke behind the counter was unusually disdainful in manner, even for a hotel clerk.
British Dictionary definitions for caravansary


/ˌkærəˈvænsəˌraɪ; -ˌreɪ/
noun (pl) -rais, -ries
(in some Eastern countries esp formerly) a large inn enclosing a courtyard providing accommodation for caravans
Word Origin
C16: from Persian kārwānsarāī caravan inn
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
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Word Origin and History for caravansary

alternative spelling of caravanserai.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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