Turkish bath


Turkish bath
a bath in which the bather, after copious perspiration in a steam room, showers and has a rubdown.
[1635-45]

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Bath originating in the Middle East, combining exposure to warm air, steam immersion, massage, and a cold bath or shower.

The Turkish bath (ḥammām) reflects the fusion of the massage and cosmetic aspects of the Eastern bath tradition and the plumbing and heating techniques of the Romans. Turkish baths were smaller than the Roman thermae and more sparsely lit. The baths at Constantinople were domed, and rooms were richly decorated with marble or mosaics. Used for socializing and relaxation as well as bathing, the ḥammām was popular throughout the Islamic world; some baths are still in use. In the 19th century, the Turkish bath was adapted and exported to Europe and the U.S.

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      kind of bath that originated in the Middle East and combines exposure to warm air, then steam or hot-air immersion, massage, and finally a cold-water bath or shower. The Turkish bath typically requires movement from one room or chamber to the next. Separate wash rooms and soaking pools may be included in the bath building, as are dressing and rest rooms. The Turkish bath has been used for weight reduction, cleansing, and relaxation purposes.

      Authorities believe the Turkish bath originally combined some massage and cosmetic aspects of East Indian bathing with Roman plumbing techniques, but it also had distinctive features. A description from 1699 points out an environmental difference: instead of a high-windowed, light-flooded tepidarium (warm room), the Turkish bath had “cupolas sparsely pierced by the glow of coloured bullions, or . . . stalactite cupolas in the smaller rooms. Half-light, quiescence, seclusion from the outside world are preferred.” The Turkish baths at Constantinople (now Istanbul) contained a series of domed rooms, the domes supported on pendentives; each series of rooms had warm, hot, and steam areas.

      Christian crusaders returning from wars in the Middle East brought the Turkish bath concept back to western Europe. Europeans at the time, however, could not easily supply the great quantities of hot water that were required for a Turkish bath, so the bath did not become popular in Europe until much later. It survives today in the United States, western Europe, Turkey, and many other countries and regions. Many baths, including those in Turkey, have special days for men and women. The Turkish bath may be a weekly or monthly practice that is used in addition to the more frequent tub bath or shower.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Turkish bath — noun count 1. ) a type of bath in which you sit in a very hot room, then wash yourself and have a MASSAGE 2. ) a place where you can have a Turkish bath …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Turkish bath — n a type of bath in which you sit in a very hot steamy room, have a ↑massage, then take a cold ↑shower or bath …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Turkish bath — n. 1. a kind of bath in which the bather, after a period of heavy perspiration in a room of hot air or steam, is washed, massaged, and cooled 2. a place where such a bath is given …   English World dictionary

  • Turkish bath — ► NOUN 1) a cleansing treatment that involves sitting in a room filled with very hot air or steam, followed by washing and massage. 2) a building or room where such a treatment is available …   English terms dictionary

  • Turkish bath — The Turkish bath ( tr. hamam; from ar. حمّام, ArabDIN|ḥammām ) is the Middle Eastern variant of a steam bath, which can be categorized as a wet relative of the sauna. They have played an important role in cultures of the Middle East, serving as… …   Wikipedia

  • Turkish bath — noun 1. a steam room where facilities are available for a bath followed by a shower and massage • Hypernyms: ↑steam bath, ↑steam room, ↑vapor bath, ↑vapour bath 2. you sweat in a steam room before getting a rubdown and cold shower • Syn: ↑steam… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Turkish bath — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms Turkish bath : singular Turkish bath plural Turkish baths a type of bath in which you sit in a very hot room, then wash yourself and have a massage …   English dictionary

  • Turkish bath — noun (C) a health treatment that involves sitting in a very hot steamy room: I walked into the club and it was like a Turkish bath! …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English