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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 caravanserai
Historical Examples
  • I'll send a letter to Hazael, the Essene, and after having delivered the message they can remain at the caravanserai in Jericho.

    The Brook Kerith George Moore
  • The Sultan entered a caravanserai, where he found several merchants.

  • We could cash checks for any reasonable sum in this caravanserai merely on our appearance as men of education and property.

    Blacksheep! Blacksheep! Meredith Nicholson
  • At half-past seven next morning, we emerged from the caravanserai.

    Notes in North Africa W. G. Windham
  • At the caravanserai where I lodged, there was a hump-backed Ganymede, of the most hideous kind.

    Los Gringos H. A. (Henry Agustus) Wise
  • That caravanserai can accommodate 1000 men in rooms, and 1500 mules.

  • Then at the turning of the road we came to the caravanserai.

    Greenmantle John Buchan
  • I only use it as a caravanserai, and alight there for a little, on a journey.

    Checkmate Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Jussuf followed him in deep thought, and, soon arriving at the town, they entered the caravanserai.

  • It was Hassan's voice; we were at the door of the caravanserai.

British Dictionary definitions for caravanserai


/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 caravanserai

1590s, carvanzara, "Eastern inn (with a large central court) catering to caravans," ultimately from Persian karwan-sarai, from karwan (see caravan) + sara'i "palace, mansion; inn," from Iranian base *thraya- "to protect" (see seraglio).



alternative spelling of caravanserai.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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