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 Dantean descent and conflicted redemption, giving us a 21st-first century odyssey into the guttering soul of the planet. Washington Post, "Jeff VanderMeer’s ‘Hummingbird Salamander’ is a gripping eco-thriller full of cinematic set pieces," 6 Apr. 2021 He was also invited back to Georgia in 2013 for the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Americus movement, where Mr. Rembert’s own odyssey had begun. New York Times, "Winfred Rembert, 75, Dies; Turned Painful Memories Into Art," 4 Apr. 2021 Coincidence, divine intervention and fate link several people on an intense day which becomes a moral odyssey. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: James Dean in ‘Giant’ on TCM and more," 2 Apr. 2021 Harrison’s story is not only a personal odyssey but a contextual look at race and ethnicity in the 19th and early 20th centuries. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Arts & Culture Newsletter: Celebrating 50 years of Queen with 50 weeks’ worth of free clips," 25 Mar. 2021 The Tulsa native left the school after the 1998 season for Northern Iowa, beginning a wide-ranging coaching odyssey. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "UF’s new QBs coach Garrick McGee well suited to help Gators replace Kyle Trask," 17 Mar. 2021 Thus began a month-long odyssey, as covered by constant Plain Dealer reporting. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "J.J. Watt, Reggie White and the Not Quite Browns All-Stars: Doug Lesmerises," 3 Mar. 2021 This week’s offerings include an eclectic mix, from a documentary about a pioneer in Pacific Northwest burlesque clubs to Princeton opera, to a sci-fi space radio odyssey. oregonlive, "5 things to do this week: ‘The Mineola Twins,’ Jenny Conlee, and ‘Protocol’," 3 Mar. 2021 The state’s seven-figure payout caps a nearly three decade odyssey through the legal system for Steese. Megan Rose, ProPublica, "A Las Vegas Judge Approves $1.4 Million Payment to Wrongfully Convicted Man Who Served More Than Two Decades," 2 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for odyssey

Time Traveler

The first known use of odyssey was in 1886

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Statistics for odyssey

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Odyssey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odyssey. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for odyssey



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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