hen·​na | \ ˈhe-nə How to pronounce henna (audio) \

Definition of henna

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a reddish-brown dye obtained from leaves of the henna plant and used especially on hair and in temporary tattoos
2 : an Old World tropical shrub or small tree (Lawsonia inermis) of the loosestrife family with small opposite leaves and panicles of fragrant usually white flowers


hennaed; hennaing; hennas

Definition of henna (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to dye with henna a woman with hennaed hair

Examples of henna in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Cleopatra may be famed for her eyeliner, but the Egyptian ruler was also known to tint her lips with a mixture of carmine and henna, Avon reports. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "National Lipstick Day: 5 things you never knew about the cosmetic," 28 July 2018 Mehndi, or henna, has long been used in India as a means for body decoration, and, in Hindu weddings, the application process often takes a whole day to complete. Noor Brara, Vogue, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Begin Their Pre-Wedding Ceremonies—Here’s What Could Be Next," 28 Nov. 2018 Typically done as all-male and all-female events, where the bride and groom are adorned with henna designs on their hands and feet, Chopra and Jonas opted for a coed Mehendi, and celebrated together. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Priyanka Chopra & Nick Jonas' Wedding: Everything You Need to Know," 4 Dec. 2018 Girls in hijabs gathered around tables to paint henna designs on their hands. Andy Ngo, WSJ, "A Visit to Islamic England," 29 Aug. 2018 The two-story market sells fruit, vegetables, dry goods, and meat on the first floor; the second floor has a hippy-dippy bent, with incense, henna tattoos, piercings, and woven backpacks. Scarlett Lindeman, Condé Nast Traveler, "13 Best Markets in Mexico City," 5 Mar. 2018 One painting features a woman’s hand, covered with henna, clasped in a defiant fist. Libby Solomon, baltimoresun.com, "'No one can stop me': Afghan artist Sughra Hussainy on women's rights and change through art," 3 July 2018 One boardwalk worker, henna artist Bobby Kole, 25, uses his sales skill to bring teens into Oxygen Tattoo. Avalon R. Zoppo, Philly.com, "Senior Week in Wildwood: A money-making machine that residents love to hate," 20 June 2018 Everything about the performance, including her flaming red outfit complete with a tribal henna tattoo design on her head, was a fitting tribute to Elliott and her signature style. Sam Tornow, Billboard, "Missy Elliott and Zedd Tweet Support For Stunning Covers of Their Songs on 'The Four'," 13 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of henna


1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1919, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for henna


Arabic ḥinnā'

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Statistics for henna

Last Updated

31 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for henna

The first known use of henna was in 1600

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English Language Learners Definition of henna

: a reddish-brown dye used especially for coloring hair or skin


hen·​na | \ ˈhen-ə How to pronounce henna (audio) \

Medical Definition of henna

1 : an Old World tropical shrub or small tree (Lawsonia inermis) of the loosestrife family (Lythraceae) with clusters of fragrant white flowers
2 : a reddish brown dye obtained from the leaves of the henna plant and used especially on hair and in temporary tattoos

More from Merriam-Webster on henna

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with henna

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about henna

Comments on henna

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