ˈjäs How to pronounce joss (audio)
: a Chinese idol or cult image

Example Sentences

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 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.

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 3 Feb. 2023.

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