Definition of harem
- the pop star and his harem
- Researchers who study elk have determined that the males who possess the largest harems of females not only sport the largest racks of antlers, but also the most symmetrical ones.
- —Natalie Angier
the pop star and his harem
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In a Muslim household, a harem is a part of a house set apart for women and from which nonfamily males are excluded. Harems existed in the pre-Islamic civilizations of the Middle East and in the courts of pre-Islamic Assyria, Persia, and Egypt. The harem was also found in the courts of China and Japan as well as in India and southeast Asia. Large harems for wives and concubines were common in wealthy Arab households into the 20th century; the great harem of the Turkish sultans (15th–20th century) contained several hundred women, guarded by eunuchs. By the later 20th century, the full harem system remained only among conservative elements of Arab society.
First Known Use: 1634See Words from the same year
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