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

Definition of henna

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a reddish-brown dye that is used especially on hair and in temporary tattoos and is obtained from the leaves of an Old World tropical shrub or small tree
2 : the Old World tropical shrub or small tree (Lawsonia inermis) of the loosestrife family that yields henna dye and has small opposite leaves and clusters 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 Following the Haldi was the Sangeet, a pre-wedding party with dancing, food and mehendi, the painting of intricate designs on the body using a henna paste. New York Times, 27 Aug. 2021 Face painters and henna painters will be there, as will crafters selling Mexican goods. Susan Dunne, courant.com, 28 July 2021 The slate of festivities includes a petting zoo with pony rides, face painting and henna — the traditional intricate, temporary tattoo-like paint adorned on hands. Zareen Syed, chicagotribune.com, 27 July 2021 The festival also will feature henna art, face painting and food trucks. Cal Martinez, Detroit Free Press, 24 July 2021 The smell of tandoori chicken, a flash of red fabric and hands adorned with henna all signal one thing for Desi couples across the world: wedding season. NBC News, 28 May 2021 At the events with her family, the bride wore a traditional red lehenga, henna and jewelry, and her family played classic Desi wedding games before the ceremony. NBC News, 28 May 2021 The stores offer permanent ink tattoos and temporary henna tattoos, along with piercings and the usual assortment of beach goods. Todd C. Frankel, Washington Post, 28 May 2021 Lawson adds that henna products, although not inherently discriminatory, are another example of Asian appropriation in beauty. Yasmine Summan, refinery29.com, 11 May 2021

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


1851, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for henna


Arabic ḥinnā'

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Dictionary Entries Near henna

Henlopen, Cape



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Last Updated

6 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Henna.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/henna. Accessed 16 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for henna



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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about henna


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