geisha

noun
gei·​sha | \ˈgā-shə also ˈgē-\
plural geisha or geishas

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Examples of geisha in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But Fashion Nova isn’t the only company selling geisha costumes. Mekita Rivas, Allure, "Fashion Nova's "Sexy" Geisha Costume Is Everything Not to Wear on Halloween This Year," 3 Oct. 2018 But Fashion Nova isn’t the only company selling geisha costumes. Mekita Rivas, Teen Vogue, "Fashion Nova Is Selling a “Sexy” Geisha Halloween Costume," 1 Oct. 2018 Gion Geisha District Located in the Higashiyama-ku ward, the Gion geisha district is one of the best places to experience traditional Kyoto. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "14 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Kyoto," 23 Jan. 2018 Regardless, geishas are an important part of Japanese culture and their attire is not a costume. Mekita Rivas, Allure, "Fashion Nova's "Sexy" Geisha Costume Is Everything Not to Wear on Halloween This Year," 3 Oct. 2018 Teen Wolf's Tyler Posey Explains His Tattoos To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that Regardless, geishas are an important part of Japanese culture and their attire is not a costume. Mekita Rivas, Teen Vogue, "Fashion Nova Is Selling a “Sexy” Geisha Halloween Costume," 1 Oct. 2018 Kyoto is a city that’s easy to visualize, a capsule of Japanese history: dozens of ornate temples in quiet gardens, winding streets lit by paper lanterns, the occasional lingering geisha dressed in a kimono and full makeup. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "Come to Kyoto for the Sake, Stay for the Gin," 17 Aug. 2018 An emissary for the Shogun visits the Japanese version of the Mariposa Saloon and orders Akane to hand over that daughter, a young geisha named Sakura. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 5: More Dead Than Alive," 21 May 2018 Wooden lattice windows made of thin wooden beams in a grid pattern create a lace effect that is in perfect harmony with the elegant 'maiko' (apprentice geisha) dancers, who can often be seen taking a stroll through the area. Scott Gilman, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Japan," 5 Oct. 2016

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.

See More

First Known Use of geisha

1881, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for geisha

Japanese, from gei art + -sha person

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about geisha

Dictionary Entries near geisha

geilsiekte

Geim

Geisel

geisha

geison

geisotherm

Geissler bulb

Statistics for geisha

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for geisha

The first known use of geisha was in 1881

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for geisha

geisha

noun

English Language Learners Definition of geisha

: a Japanese girl who is trained to entertain men with singing, conversation, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on geisha

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about geisha

Comments on geisha

What made you want to look up geisha? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!