Definition of seraglio in English:


Pronunciation /səˈrälyō/ /səˈrɑljoʊ/

Translate seraglio into Spanish


  • 1historical The women's apartments (harem) in an Ottoman palace.

    ‘This tyranny was exemplified through the image of the seraglio, where beautiful women were kept as ‘slaves to the tyrant's lust.’’
    • ‘The room, a moody cross between an opium den and a Byzantine seraglio, was upholstered at every turn in deep-red plush; there were acres of the stuff in the cushy front lounge.’
    • ‘The walls of the Alexandria seraglio apparently carry large portraits of himself to the total of his ladies.’
    • ‘What Natasha means, is that she has met some self confident women who don't conform to her own racist stereotypes of Muslim women, huddled away in some oriental seraglio.’
    • ‘The luxurious air of the seraglio is made complete by a sensuous zither-like ‘santir’ and gentle drumming in the background.’
    1. 1.1The women inhabiting a seraglio or harem.
      ‘A seraglio of harem girls seemed to take unfathomable delight in passing my place of confinement.’
      • ‘Nor is it doubted by historians that Ibrahim the Mad had two hundred and eighty women of his seraglio sewn into sacks and cast into the Bosphorus.’
  • 2historical A Turkish or Ottoman palace, especially the Sultan's court and government offices at Constantinople.

    ‘The impression is that the lay-out of the whole area resembled that of the Seraglio in Constantinople, with palaces, barracks, and other royal buildings set in an area of parkland.’
    • ‘Although foreigners frequently denoted many smaller summer palaces as seraglios, in the early eighteenth century the terminology was usually associated with Topkapi Palace.’
    • ‘The English traveler Charles Perry, in an attempt to describe his visit to Sa'dabad, ended up giving only a detailed account of one building, pondering whether to call it a kiosk or a seraglio.’
    • ‘Yet Fabrice's ebullient remark to a different correspondent that ‘a fine seraglio is being prepared at Adrianople, or in its neighborhood, for the King’ could also suggest a brand-new construction.’
    • ‘One is immediately reminded of Fabrice's brief but clear description of the second court at Topkapi: ‘People are admitted only into the 2'nd court of the seraglio, and are hindered from going further by a guard of black Eunuchs.’’


Late 16th century from Italian serraglio, via Turkish from Persian sarāy ‘palace’; compare with serai.