From Italian seraglio, from Vulgar Latin *serrāculum, from a late form of Latin serāre (“lock up, close”), from sera (“lock, bolt”). The Italian word was used (because of phonetic similarity) to translate Persian سرای (sarāy, “lodgings, residence”). Compare serai, serail.
seraglio (plural seraglios)
- The palace of the Grand Seignior in Constantinople.
- 1749, Henry Fielding, chapter X, in The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. In Six Volumes, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: Printed by A[ndrew] Millar, […], OCLC 928184292, book V:
- At these words he started up, and beheld—not his Sophia—no, nor a Circassian maid richly and elegantly attired for the grand Signior's seraglio.
- The sequestered living quarters used by wives and concubines (odalisques) in a Turkish Muslim household.
- A brothel or place of debauchery.
- An interior cage or enclosed courtyard for keeping wild beasts.