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or zanana

[zuh-nah-nuh] /zəˈnɑ nə/
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for zenana
Historical Examples
  • Surely they don't allow any of the missionaries to smoke at these zenana meetings, my love—do they?

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

    Mr. Midshipman Easy Captain Frederick Marryat
  • But in visiting a zenana I only saw the inhabitants of that one house.

    A Missionary Twig Emma L. Burnett
  • Other interesting conveyances are those in which the zenana ladies travel.

    How the World Travels A. A. Methley
  • "Do thou remain here, I will not be long away;" and pushing aside a curtain near him, he went into his zenana.

    A Noble Queen (Volume I of 3) Philip Meadows Taylor
  • The Khan then returned to the zenana, where Lurlee Khnum met him.

    Tara Philip Meadows Taylor
  • Hindus borrowed the zenana system from their conquerors, who imitated them in discouraging widow-remarriages.

    Tales of Bengal S. B. Banerjea
  • His treasures and his zenana; I may even be able to secure his person.

    The Surgeon's Daughter Sir Walter Scott
  • “Now I will tell you something of zenana visiting,” she said.

    A Missionary Twig Emma L. Burnett
  • And with this I made the under-clothing for the palace and the zenana.

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
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
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