\ ˈlüsh How to pronounce louche (audio) \

Definition of louche

: not reputable or decent

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Did You Know?

Louche ultimately comes from the Latin word luscus, meaning "blind in one eye or "having poor sight." This Latin term gave rise to the French louche, meaning "squinting" or "cross-eyed." The French gave their term a figurative sense as well, taking that squinty look to mean "shady" or "devious." English speakers didn't see the need for the sight-impaired uses when they borrowed the term in the 19th century, but they kept the figurative one. The word is still quite visible today and is used to describe both people and places of questionable repute.

Examples of louche in a Sentence

before gentrification, it was the sort of louche neighborhood where people went looking for illegal drugs
Recent Examples on the Web What had gripped my father’s imagination was not Chatterton’s louche glamour or even his artistry but the sheer familiarity of his experience—the restrictions placed on this boy’s being and flourishing by an indifferent world. Thomas Chatterton Williams, Harper's Magazine, 25 May 2021 An open-air bar/lounge that overlooks the Sand Bar restaurant, with interiors by Martin Brudnizki at his most tropical-louche; three signature suites on the rock, replacing the formal dining room; a spa featuring fragrant Ligne St. Barth products. Travel + Leisure Staff, Travel + Leisure, 19 Feb. 2020 Suits are cut with louche, wide-legged trousers; rakish field jackets often stand in for traditional sport coats. Kareem Rashed, Robb Report, 27 Mar. 2021 From its impractical and louche proportions to the lovely 5.0-liter V-8 under its hood, the LC500 convertible feels selfish, a treat-yourself reward. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, 8 Feb. 2021 So was the creator of these images a louche outsider, a kind of Mannerist Tom of Holland? New York Times, 13 Jan. 2021 From the 1960s through the aughts, this American’s louche designs propelled the idea that an outfit should compliment the woman—not the other way around. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, 21 Dec. 2020 To keep his main suspect from being arrested, Joseph has to squirrel Van Meegeren away in a garret, where the louche fugitive is happy to paint, drink whiskey and entertain his mistress (Olivia Grant). John Anderson, WSJ, 19 Nov. 2020 For this performance — loose, louche, flirty, rooted, wise but silly, impossible but endearing — an Oscar would be insufficient. Kyle Smith, National Review, 25 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'louche.' 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 louche

1819, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for louche

French, literally, cross-eyed, squint-eyed, from Latin luscus blind in one eye

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Last Updated

28 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Louche.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/louche. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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