od·​ys·​sey | \ ˈä-də-sē How to pronounce odyssey (audio) \
plural odysseys

Definition of odyssey

1 : a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune his odyssey from rural South to urban North, from poverty to affluence, from Afro-American folk culture to a Eurocentric world of books— J. E. Wideman
2 : an intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest an odyssey of self-discovery a spiritual odyssey from disbelief to faith

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Did You Know?

Odysseus, the hero of Homer's Odyssey, spends 20 years traveling home from the Trojan War. He has astonishing adventures and learns a great deal about himself and the world; he even descends to the underworld to talk to the dead. Thus, an odyssey is any long, complicated journey, often a quest for a goal, and may be a spiritual or psychological journey as well as an actual voyage.

Examples of odyssey in a Sentence

The story is about the emotional odyssey experienced by a teenage girl. the spiritual odyssey of the deeply religious

Recent Examples on the Web

The other principal role, of course, is that of Jim, the runaway slave who joins Huck on his down-river odyssey. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: 35 years ago ‘Big River’ started flowing in La Jolla," 25 June 2019 In Woodland’s case, the poignancy rested in his odyssey to become a dad. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach," 16 June 2019 The odyssey preceding the Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in Matal v. Tam is, certainly, the draw of Tam’s memoir. Nathan Rizzo | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive.com, "‘Slanted’ tells the story of Portland Asian American band’s fight to keep its name," 9 June 2019 Yet, somehow, the odyssey didn’t completely sour me on the suburbs and Ms. Kunkin sold me my house three years later. Ronda Kaysen, New York Times, "I Can See New York From My House!," 23 Feb. 2018 In their new short film, One Breath Around the World, Néry, 37, and Gautier, 39, take viewers on an underwater odyssey across the globe. Mike Olcott, National Geographic, "This freediving couple reveals the world underwater like never before.," 25 Apr. 2019 Normal people have to adapt, often setting off on an odyssey to a safe location far away, in this case Alaska. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: On the Edge in the Golden State," 8 Feb. 2019 But Einstein made a critical last-second error that set him on an odyssey of doubt and discovery — one that nearly cost him his greatest scientific achievement. Quanta Magazine, "How Einstein Lost His Bearings, and With Them, General Relativity," 14 Mar. 2018 The modernized Graphics Command Center is starting Intel’s graphics odyssey off on the right foot. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Intel's gaming odyssey takes voyage with a slick new Graphics Command Center," 20 Mar. 2019

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

1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for odyssey

the Odyssey, epic poem attributed to Homer recounting the long wanderings of Odysseus

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Statistics for odyssey

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for odyssey

The first known use of odyssey was in 1886

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English Language Learners Definition of odyssey

literary : a long journey full of adventures
: a series of experiences that give knowledge or understanding to someone

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More from Merriam-Webster on odyssey

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for odyssey

Spanish Central: Translation of odyssey

Nglish: Translation of odyssey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of odyssey for Arabic Speakers

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