Definition of henna in English:



  • 1The powdered leaves of a tropical shrub, used as a dye to color the hair and decorate the body.

    • ‘Most people in November were wearing leather coats, as you see throughout Europe, and the women, most of whom were brunettes, had dyed their hair with henna.’
    • ‘In addition, visitors will be able to have their hair braided and to be decorated with henna.’
    • ‘Recently, having one's hands decorated with designs in henna has become more popular in the United States.’
    • ‘My palms are turning orange, and I don't know if it's from dyeing my hair with henna or from eating too many carrots.’
    • ‘The henna powder was boiled for thirty minutes with copper coins in the water.’
    • ‘They did crazy things like putting henna in their hair, and for want of authentic shower caps, wrapping grocery bags around their heads and merrily going for a walk in their new heady contraptions.’
    • ‘For a truly natural hair dye option, consider henna, which is made from the powdered leaves of a desert shrub called Lawsonia.’
    • ‘I used to love coloring my hair red with henna, but finally quit doing it.’
    • ‘Hands and feet were the only areas traditionally decorated with henna, but now many people apply henna on other parts of the body.’
    • ‘Zara was wearing a bright red dress and had a trace of henna in her hair and on her fingers.’
    • ‘This is followed the next day with the bride's preparation, in which all her body hair is removed, and she, too, is decorated with henna.’
    • ‘Follow the instructions on the box, but since henna dries the hair, do combine it with the oil.’
    • ‘Hair coloring with henna and indigo was also done.’
    • ‘Women could have massages, henna painting, hair braiding and facials while businesses in the area hosted stalls.’
    • ‘There is a discount of 50 per cent on a wide range of goods at the expo - from pickles, curry powder, henna, and toys, to washing machines and microwave ovens.’
    • ‘Every story I've heard involving sensitivity to henna has involved black henna.’
    • ‘If you want to get rid of gray, rinse your hair with henna.’
    • ‘Trace a pattern on your ankle or biceps and paint in with temporary colours or henna.’
    • ‘Unlike black and red henna, which dye your hair, neutral henna just adds body and shine.’
    • ‘Also increasing in popularity in the United States is body painting with henna.’
    reddish-brown, red-brown, dark red, titian, titian red, tawny, russet, chestnut, chestnut-coloured, copper, coppery, copper-coloured, rust-coloured, rufous, henna, hennaed
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  • 2The Old World shrub that produces henna, with small pink, red, or white flowers.

    • ‘More than 90 percent of this 2,000-year-old oasis town, surrounded by date palms, orange orchards and henna in the desert separating Iran from Pakistan, has been destroyed.’
    • ‘Here, under labyrinthine covered arches, one can buy items as varied as ceramics, carpets, silver, brass, miniatures, tiles, saffron, pistachio nuts and henna.’
    • ‘Originally, natural dyes from amla, henna, pomegranate, indigo and turmeric were used to dye the silk.’
    • ‘The herbs illam and henna were used by women to soften and beautify their skin.’
    • ‘The crushed leaves of the henna plant, when mixed with other natural ingredients, provides a thick, aromatic paste used for painting hands and feet.’
    • ‘It uses the coloring properties of henna, a bushlike herb that grows throughout Africa and the Middle East.’
    • ‘The sheep is lovingly fed salt, barley and henna before it is killed.’
    • ‘The process of extracting the dyes - from the indigo plant, saffron, madder root, henna, barks, fruit peels and leaves and flowers of various plants - is tedious and requires a lot of sunlight, water and room.’


  • Dye (hair) with henna.

    • ‘He was an old man with hennaed hair and heavy plastic spectacles.’
    • ‘Come to my house and my sister will henna the rest of your hair.’
    • ‘Her hair is hennaed to cover the grey and her figure was long ago permanently shrouded in a shapeless dress.’
    • ‘The whole atmosphere is of medieval times, and veiled women, their hands and feet hennaed with elaborate patterns, haggle in the markets and small shops which cluster the peripheries of the town.’
    • ‘Her veil off, she wore her hennaed hair in a long braid.’
    • ‘It provides a fascinating look at New Delhi as the city westernizes into a circus of cellphones, saris, hennaed hands and shiny BMWs.’
    • ‘She had her hennaed hair in a bun, running around, looking young and beautiful.’
    • ‘In the second term, I ditched the drab chain-store clothes, hennaed my hair and trendied myself up.’
    • ‘She wears glittering, flimsy garments with sheer embroidered scarves, hennaed hair, nail varnish and lipstick.’
    • ‘It is not uncommon for brides and their friends to take over a bathhouse the night before the big day and go through the rituals of washing, depilation and even hennaing the hair.’
    • ‘She tilted her head, her long, hennaed hair rustling against her cheek.’
    • ‘The marriage ceremony also violated centuries of protocol, as images of Bennani's face and hennaed hands, were televised live to the world.’
    • ‘I henna my hair sometimes, personally, and sometimes it grows out normal color.’
    • ‘This practice is still part of Middle Eastern cultures today, particularly for special occasions such as weddings, when along with the bride, her mother, aunts, and friends will henna themselves as well.’
    • ‘One old man with a richly hennaed beard stood up suddenly as the sound of Beethoven's Ode To Joy was broadcast, apparently from his head.’
    • ‘She had come to him, after all, an unfinished thing, a child bride, almost colorless except for her red bindi and her hennaed hands.’
    • ‘Her thick hair, cut to graze her shoulders, was hennaed a deep red, striking against her clear, translucent, alabaster skin.’
    • ‘So, I stayed home and hennaed my hair while I downloaded all this new junk.’
    • ‘With her sparse, hennaed hair and crimson lips, she greeted us with warm generosity.’
    • ‘She has bucked the trend of every heavy-tressed, hennaed housewife.’
    reddish-brown, red-brown, dark red, titian, titian red, tawny, russet, chestnut, chestnut-coloured, copper, coppery, copper-coloured, rust-coloured, rufous, henna, hennaed
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: from Arabic ḥinnā'.