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

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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

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 Maeve implores Akane to come with them, but the geisha resists. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "'Westworld' recap: A trip to Shogun World makes Episode 5 the best this season," 20 May 2018 Return to The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto for a brief respite before a very unique evening at a Japanese ochaya or introduction-only tea house for a private dinner with geisha entertainment. Scott Gilman, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Japan," 5 Oct. 2016 Hector, Armistice, and Musashi go out to cause a diversion, while Maeve, Sizemore, Felix, Sylvester, and Akana set off to retrieve the lost geisha., "Westworld Season 2, Episode 5 Recap: Maeve vs. Dolores," 21 May 2018 The settings and characters are nearly identical, down to the tattoo-faced badass women in each park: HBO Maeve has a counterpart in Shogun World, Akane, who runs a group of geisha. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "'Westworld' *Finally* Showed Us Shogun World and Revealed That Maeve Is Basically God Now," 21 May 2018 And given how utterly committed the show has been to its colonialism, its stereotypes, and its cheaply exotic tropes — the vengeful geisha, really? Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Westworld pauses its other action for a mostly thrilling trip to Shogun World," 21 May 2018 There’s even a Mariposa, where Akane works as head geisha., "Westworld Season 2, Episode 5 Recap: Maeve vs. Dolores," 21 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of geisha

1881, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for geisha

Japanese, from gei art + -sha person

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Geissler bulb

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Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for geisha

The first known use of geisha was in 1881

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English Language Learners Definition of geisha

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

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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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