oda·​lisque ˈō-də-ˌlisk How to pronounce odalisque (audio)
plural odalisques
: an enslaved woman
: a concubine in a harem

Examples of odalisque in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Nov. 19 through March 12 In a Joan Brown painting, a cat might sit pensively in the middle of a Kool-Aid-colored landscape and a woman with the body of a tiger might take the pose of an Ingres odalisque. Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2022 One of our first glimpses of the young performer, played by Austin Butler, is from behind, draped against some flotsam at a carnival like a country-boy odalisque, his beauty evident even from the partial view. Vulture, 24 June 2022 These women, usually sitting or lying, provide the base for each chaise longue’s form—turning the image of an odalisque into the furniture itself. Camille Okhio, ELLE Decor, 30 Nov. 2022 Displayed as a conventional odalisque — a reclining nude — in an unexpectedly static five-minute video shot. Christopher Knightart Critic, Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2022 Baker figures elsewhere as a cheerful odalisque, eloquently emulating a motif from Matisse. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 28 Feb. 2022 Each includes a reclining odalisque, two seated women around a hookah, and a female Black servant. Lance Esplund, WSJ, 2 July 2021 The odalisque is a forensic image that details the violence to which the black female body can be subjected. Longreads, 20 July 2019 Henry Moore wanted timeless nature to be seen through the signature holes in his monumental, semi-abstract odalisques, but in Lucas’ sculptures enduring culture is what gets glimpsed. Los Angeles Times, 17 July 2019 See More

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

Word History


French, from Turkish odalık, from oda room

First Known Use

circa 1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of odalisque was circa 1681

Dictionary Entries Near odalisque

Cite this Entry

“Odalisque.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odalisque. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

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