Etymology
Advertisement
harem (n.)
1630s, "part of a Middle Eastern house reserved for women," 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." From 1784 in English as "wives, female relatives and female slaves in a Middle Eastern household." The harem-skirt was introduced in fashion 1911. Harem pants attested from 1921; fashionable c. 1944. An earlier word for them (in a Middle Eastern/Balkan context) was bag-trousers (1849).
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
haram (adj.)
in Islamic terminology, "forbidden;" see harem.
Related entries & more 
Marrano (n.)

also Marano, "a Jew or Moor in Spain who, to avoid persecution, publicly professed conversion to Christianity while privately continuing in the practices and beliefs of their old religion," 1580s, from Spanish, probably literally "pig, swine," an expression of contempt, from Arabic muharram "forbidden thing" (eating of pork is forbidden by Muslim and Jewish religious law), from haruma "was forbidden" (see harem).

Related entries & more 
oda (n.)
room in a harem, 1620s, from Turkish odah "hall, chamber."
Related entries & more 
odalisque (n.)

"female slave or concubine in a harem," 1680s, from French odalisque (1660s), from Turkish odaliq "maidservant," from odah "room in a harem," literally "chamber, hall," + -liq, suffix expressing function. In French, the suffix was confused with -isque, which is ultimately from Greek -isk(os) "of the nature of, belonging to."

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
seraglio (n.)

1580s, in reference to Muslim lands, "the part of the dwelling where the women are secluded," also the name of a former palace of the sultan in Istanbul, which contained his harem; from Italian seraglio, alteration of Turkish saray "palace, court," from Persian sara'i "palace, inn." This is from the Iranian base *thraya- "to protect" (source also of Avestan thrayeinti "they protect"), from PIE *tra-, a variant form of the root *tere- (2) "cross over, pass through, overcome."

The Italian word probably reflects folk etymology influence of serraglio "enclosure, cage," from Medieval Latin serraculum "bung, stopper" (see serried). Sometimes in English in early use serail, via French sérail, which is from the Italian word. The meaning "inmates of a harem" is attested by 1630s.

Related entries & more