ˈjäs How to pronounce joss (audio)
: 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, 29 Mar. 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'joss.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1711, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of joss was in 1711

Dictionary Entries Near joss

Cite this Entry

“Joss.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

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