\ ˈjäs How to pronounce joss (audio) , ˈjȯs\

Definition of joss

: a Chinese idol or cult image

Examples of joss in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The police initially said Mr. Zhang’s brothers were suspected of illegally starting a fire by burning joss sticks and paper at ancestral graves. Chris Buckley, New York Times, "Obama Faces a Tough Balancing Act Over South China Sea," 29 Mar. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'joss.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of joss

1711, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for joss

Chinese Pidgin English, from Portuguese deus god, from Latin — more at deity

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Time Traveler for joss

The first known use of joss was in 1711

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with joss

Comments on joss

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


not constant or steady

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