caravansary

noun
car·​a·​van·​sa·​ry | \ ˌker-ə-ˈvan(t)-sə-rē How to pronounce caravansary (audio) , ˌka-rə- \
variants: or caravanserai \ ˌker-​ə-​ˈvan(t)-​sə-​ˌrī How to pronounce caravansary (audio) , ˌka-​rə-​ \
plural caravansaries or caravanserais or caravanserai

Definition of caravansary

1 : an inn surrounding a court in eastern countries where caravans rest at night
2 : hotel, inn

Did you know?

In the Middle East of centuries past, caravans often lodged at caravansaries. These inns were quadrangular in form and enclosed by massive walls with small windows near the top. The central court, which was surrounded by an arcade and storerooms, was large enough to hold 300 to 400 camels. The name was formed from the word caravan and the Persian word sarāī, meaning "palace" or "inn." Caravansary can also be spelled caravanserai, and the word serai is used as a synonym for it.

Examples of caravansary in a Sentence

a caravansary designed specifically for self-styled cheapskates
Recent Examples on the Web Another of Bogaczewicz’s photographs captures a Saudi family having a picnic under a highway overpass, much as their bedouin ancestors might have stopped their caravansary by a desert wadi to have a meal. Wired, 26 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caravansary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of caravansary

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for caravansary

Persian kārvānsarāī, from kārvān caravan + sarāī palace, inn

Learn More About caravansary

Time Traveler for caravansary

Time Traveler

The first known use of caravansary was in 1599

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About caravansary

Dictionary Entries Near caravansary

caravanner

caravansary

caravel

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for caravansary

Cite this Entry

“Caravansary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/caravansary. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on caravansary

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about caravansary

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!