Word of The Day for Saturday, April 2, 2011


ze•na•na (zuh-NAH-nuh)  n
also zanana

1.a part of the house reserved for women and girls; a system of segregating women into harems, in Asian countries such as India and Pakistan, esp in Muslim and Hindu homes
2. its occupants collectively
3. an effeminate or crossdressing male in northern India or Pakistan

The Zenana are the inner apartments of a house in which the women of the family live. The outer apartments for guests and men is called the Mardana.

1760; from Hindi  from Persian zanana,  "female, pertaining to women", adj. derivative of zan  "woman"

Synonyms: purdah, seraglio, serai, serail, harem

Sentence Examples:
• Then for the first time she is allowed to help herself to the faculties and senses usually monopolised by the Conscious Self. But like the timid and submissive inmate of the zenana suddenly delivered from the thraldom of her life-long partner, she immediately falls under the control of another. The Conscious Personality of another person exercises over her the same supreme authority that her own Conscious Personality did formerly. - Real Ghost Stories, William T. Stead

• It is a patent fact that the Indian woman, secluded as she is within the four walls of the zenana, cannot fully benefit by any system of medicine; and it was not till the generous efforts of Lady Dufferin were turned in this direction that the wives and daughters of the richest and most enlightened Indians enjoyed a better position than the lowest and meanest of their fellows. - Clara A. Swain, M.D., Mrs. Robert Hoskins

• Well, when Uncle used to come I slept in the "Baithak" and my wife slept somewhere in the zenana, I never inquired where. -Indian Ghost Stories, by S. Mukerji

Sources: Wiktionary, Free Dictionary, Dictionary.com

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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