ze·​na·​na | \ zə-ˈnä-nə How to pronounce zenana (audio) \

Definition of zenana

: the part of a Hindu or Muslim dwelling (as in India) that is reserved for the women of the household … she had one distinct advantage where she could trump her male rivals: her access to Indian zenanas. No Englishman could go into the quarters of Indian women, and Fanny [Parkes] was determined to make the most of the opportunity and to report from beyond a frontier that her rivals could not cross.— William Dalrymple

Examples of zenana in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The latter were sequestered from view and segregated in living quarters known as the zenana. Sharmila Mukherjee, The Seattle Times, 2 Jan. 2019 This made the zenana, or women’s quarters, an influential center of tastemakers and consumers. Lee Lawrence, WSJ, 10 Mar. 2018

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

First Known Use of zenana

1760, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zenana

Hindi & Urdu zanāna, from Persian, from zan woman

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Cite this Entry

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

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