a. A tree or shrub (Lawsonia inermis) of the Middle East, having fragrant white or reddish flowers.
b. A reddish-brown dyestuff prepared from the dried and ground leaves of this plant, used especially in South and Southwest Asia and North Africa to color leather and fabrics, to dye hair, and to decorate the skin.
c. A design drawn on the skin with this dyestuff.
2. A moderate or strong reddish brown to strong brown.
tr.v. hen·naed, hen·na·ing, hen·nas
To dye (hair or skin, for example) with henna.
[Arabic ḥinnā'; akin to ḥana'a, to become green.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.