Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An inn built around a large court for accommodating caravans along trade routes in central and western Asia.
  • n. A large inn or hostelry.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative spelling of caravanserai.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of inn, in the East, where caravans rest at night, being a large, rude, unfurnished building, surrounding a court.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In the East, a place appointed for receiving and lodging caravans; a kind of inn where the caravans rest at night, being a large square building, with a spacious court in the middle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an inn in some eastern countries with a large courtyard that provides accommodation for caravans

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

French caravanserai, from Persian kārvānsarāy : kārvān, caravan + sarāy, camp, palace.

Examples

  • WHEN the eastern traveler takes shelter from the scorching heat of noon, or halts for the night, in some inn or caravansary, which is, for the time, the house of his pilgrimage, he takes the sackbut or the lyre and sooths his rest with a song-a song it may be of war, romance, or love.

    Sermons for the New Life.

  • The building is a caravansary with halal eateries, Internet cafes, Bollywood video kiosks, groceries, barber shops, a laundry, currency exchanges and an Islamic bookstore.

    Commerce in the Rough

  • It isn't a city, it's a caravansary, and its population is constantly shifting.

    Dear Carl

  • The synagogue is in any case a very original and impressive concrete structure on the top of a hill next to the historic khan (caravansary) building, now transformed into the local museum.

    Architects in Palestine: 1920-1948.

  • Engrossed in the study of a small ivory shatranj board with pieces of ebony and horn, and in the stew of chickpeas, carrots, dried lemons and mutton for which the caravansary was renowned, the African held the place nearest the fire, his broad back to the bird, with a view of the doors and the window with its shutters thrown open to the blue dusk.

    Excerpt: Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

  • For numberless years a myna had astounded travelers to the caravansary with its ability to spew indecencies in ten languages, and before the fight broke out everyone assumed the old blue-tongued devil on its perch by the fireplace was the one who maligned the giant African with such foulness and verve.

    Excerpt: Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

  • The traveller treated his scruples with scorn, and said, that guests meeting in this general manner, had no more to do with each other than if they were assembled in a caravansary.

    Saint Ronan's Well

  • The place, wide, waste, and uncomfortable, resembled rather an Eastern caravansary, where men found shelter indeed, but were obliged to supply themselves with every thing else, than one of our modern inns;

    The Abbot

  • I boldly entered the house; and after narrowly escaping breaking my shins over a turf back and a salting tub, which stood on either side of the narrow exterior passage, I opened a crazy half-decayed door, constructed not of plank, but of wicker, and, followed by the Bailie, entered into the principal apartment of this Scottish caravansary.

    Rob Roy

  • “I have been to the caravansary that stands next to the Palace of War,” Ruser said.

    Burning Tower

Comments

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  • I know it as caravanserai.

    March 4, 2011

  • I expected to see this on Mollusque's Monovocalics list...

    Also thought it was spelled caravansery (I was probably wrong), but I like this one better anyhow.

    September 7, 2009

  • literally 'tent palace'

    September 4, 2009