One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The women's apartments (harem) in an Ottoman palace.
- ‘The luxurious air of the seraglio is made complete by a sensuous zither-like ‘santir’ and gentle drumming in the background.’
- ‘What Natasha means, is that she has met some self confident women who don't conform to her own racist stereotypes of Muslim women, huddled away in some oriental seraglio.’
- ‘This tyranny was exemplified through the image of the seraglio, where beautiful women were kept as ‘slaves to the tyrant's lust.’’
- ‘The walls of the Alexandria seraglio apparently carry large portraits of himself to the total of his ladies.’
- ‘The room, a moody cross between an opium den and a Byzantine seraglio, was upholstered at every turn in deep-red plush; there were acres of the stuff in the cushy front lounge.’
- 1.1 The women inhabiting a seraglio or harem.
- ‘A seraglio of harem girls seemed to take unfathomable delight in passing my place of confinement.’
- ‘Nor is it doubted by historians that Ibrahim the Mad had two hundred and eighty women of his seraglio sewn into sacks and cast into the Bosphorus.’
2A Turkish or Ottoman palace, especially the Sultan's court and government offices at Constantinople.
- ‘Yet Fabrice's ebullient remark to a different correspondent that ‘a fine seraglio is being prepared at Adrianople, or in its neighborhood, for the King’ could also suggest a brand-new construction.’
- ‘Although foreigners frequently denoted many smaller summer palaces as seraglios, in the early eighteenth century the terminology was usually associated with Topkapi Palace.’
- ‘One is immediately reminded of Fabrice's brief but clear description of the second court at Topkapi: ‘People are admitted only into the 2'nd court of the seraglio, and are hindered from going further by a guard of black Eunuchs.’’
- ‘The impression is that the lay-out of the whole area resembled that of the Seraglio in Constantinople, with palaces, barracks, and other royal buildings set in an area of parkland.’
- ‘The English traveler Charles Perry, in an attempt to describe his visit to Sa'dabad, ended up giving only a detailed account of one building, pondering whether to call it a kiosk or a seraglio.’
Late 16th century: from Italian serraglio, via Turkish from Persian sarāy ‘palace’; compare with serai.
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