Find the word definition

Crossword clues for zenana

The Collaborative International Dictionary

Zenana \Ze*na"na\, n. [Hind. zen[=a]na, zan[=a]na, fr. Per. zan[=a]na, fr. zan woman; akin to E. queen.] The part of a dwelling appropriated to women. [India]


n. 1 A harem on the Indian subcontinent; a part of the house reserved for high-caste women; a system of segregating women into harems. 2 An effeminate or crossdressing male in northern India or Pakistan. (qualifier: Also spelled '''zanána'''.) 3 (rfv-sense) (context slang Arabic) a relentlessly nagging wife, a shrew 4 (rfv-sense) (context slang Arabic) an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).


Zenana (, , ). The literal meaning of the word zenana is "of the women" or "pertaining to women". It contextually refers to the part of a house belonging to a Hindu or Muslim family in South Asia which is reserved for the women of the household. The Zenana are the inner apartments of a house in which the women of the family live. The outer apartments for guests and men are called the Mardana. Conceptually in those that practice purdah it is the South Asian equivalent of the harem.

Christian missionaries were able to gain access to the zenanas through the zenana missions; female missionaries who had been trained as doctors and nurses were able to provide these women with health care and also evangelise them in their own homes.

Usage examples of "zenana".

But often during the long hot evenings, if Marcos were away for the night, Sabrina would visit the Gulab Mahal, and as the moon rose into the dusty twilight the women would sit out on the flat roofs of the zenana quarter looking out across the minarets and white roof-tops, the green trees and gilded cupolas of the evil, beautiful, fantastic city of Lucknow, while Aziza Begum cracked jokes and shook with silent laughter, stuffed her mouth with strange sweetmeats from a silver platter, or told long, long stories of her youth and of kings and princes and nobles of Oudh these many years in their graves.

Aziza Begum had been wont to tell of an evening seated on the flat roof-top of the zenana quarters and looking out across the beautiful, garish city of Lucknow.

I spent the time scavenging paper and ink as unobtrusively as I might, working on various missives by the light of our campfires at night, and during the day, riding among the women of the zenana and conversing with the Ephesians.

In addition to these male exhorters, who lived pure and simple and blameless lives, we had a number of very charming youthful ladies known as the Zenana Mission, one of the fair female missionaries being so beautifully furnished with charms both of face and person that she raised desire far more carnal than spiritual in the minds of those mundane inhabitants of the cantonment who like myself worshipped the Creator in his creatures.