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).
"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."
"castrated man," late 14c., eunuk, from Latin eunuchus, from Greek eunoukhos "castrated man," originally "guard of the bedchamber or harem," from euno-, combining form of eune "bed," a word of unknown origin, + -okhos, from stem of ekhein "to have, hold" (from PIE root *segh- "to hold").
Eunuches is he þat is i-gilded, and suche were somtyme i-made wardeynes of ladyes in Egipt. [Ranulph Higden’s "Polychronicon," mid-14c., John Trevisa's translation, 1380s]
Harem attendants in Oriental courts and under the Roman emperors were charged with important affairs of state. The Greek and Latin forms of the word were used in the sense "castrated man" in the Bible but also to translate Hebrew saris, which sometimes meant merely "palace official," in Septuagint and Vulgate, probably without an intended comment on the qualities of bureaucrats. Related: Eunuchal; eunuchry; eunuchize.
"harem," also the name of a former palace of the sultan in Istanbul, 1580s, from Italian seraglio, alteration of Turkish saray "palace, court," from Persian sara'i "palace, inn," from Iranian base *thraya- "to protect" (source also of Avestan thrayeinti "they protect"), from PIE *tra-, variant form of 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).