Definition of geisha
: a Japanese girl or woman who is trained to provide entertaining and lighthearted company especially for a man or a group of men
Recent Examples of geisha from the Web
Puccini’s opera indulges in an uncomfortable racial stereotype: the obedient, long-suffering Japanese geisha.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'geisha'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
In Japan, a geisha is a member of a professional class of women whose occupation is to entertain men. She must be adept at singing, dancing, and playing the samisen (a three-stringed musical instrument), in addition to being skilled at making conversation. The geisha system is thought to have emerged in the 17th century to provide a class of well-trained entertainers set apart from courtesans and prostitutes: though geisha sometimes had sexual relationships with clients, they were supposed to entertain primarily through their accomplishments. The numbers of geisha have declined from some 80,000 in the 1920s to a few thousand at present, almost all confined to Tokyo and Kyoto, where they are patronized by only the wealthiest businessmen and most influential politicians.
Origin and Etymology of geisha
Japanese, from gei art + -sha person
First Known Use: 1881See Words from the same year
GEISHA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of geisha for English Language Learners
: a Japanese girl who is trained to entertain men with singing, conversation, etc.
Learn More about geisha
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about geisha
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up geisha? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).