harem


noun

  1. the part of a Muslim palace or house reserved for the residence of women.
  2. the women in a Muslim household, including the mother, sisters, wives, concubines, daughters, entertainers, and servants.
  3. Animal Behavior. a social group of females, as elephant seals, accompanied or followed by one fertile male who denies other males access to the group.
  4. Facetious: Sometimes Offensive. a group of women associated in any way with one man or household: I really resent it when our boss refers to us as his harem, though he’s trying to be funny.

noun

  1. the part of an Oriental house reserved strictly for wives, concubines, etc
  2. a Muslim’s wives and concubines collectively
  3. a group of female animals of the same species that are the mates of a single male
n.

1630s, from Turkish harem, from Arabic haram “wives and concubines,” originally “women’s quarters,” literally “something forbidden or kept safe,” from root of harama “he guarded, forbade.”

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