od·​ys·​sey | \ˈä-də-sē \
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

So began my odyssey through the various ways to go after a stuck bolt. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Six Ways to Extract Stuck Bolts—and the Nightmare of Trying Them All in a Row," 15 Oct. 2018 Thompson’s French publisher organized a book tour, and when other publishers in other countries piled on, the trip turned into an odyssey. New York Times, "A Youthful, Lovesick Journey Revealed in a Sketchbook," 6 July 2018 The movie becomes an odyssey (complete with nods to Homer) of masculine obstacles, and there are quite of few of them in her path – in the form of a homesteader, a fur trapper an Indian. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "'Damsel': Robert Pattinson neo-western shoots itself in its hipster foot," 27 June 2018 Most expected the Italian odyssey to come to an heroic end. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 3 Weeks To Go - When Italy Ruled in 2006 in the Face of Domestic Turmoil," 4 June 2018 The news of Irgo’s unplanned odyssey comes as United admits another dog died after a flight attendant forced it to travel in an overhead bin on a Houston-to-New York flight. Time, "United Airlines Mistakenly Flies Dog to Japan, Instead of Kansas," 14 Mar. 2018 But for Mondeik, a 21-year-old college student from the unincorporated burg of Gleason – between Wausau and Rhinelander – this current eight-day odyssey makes perfect sense. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Where racing will take him, Justin Mondeik can't be sure, but he's eager to follow the road," 9 July 2018 With Machine Man, Kirby’s 2001 odyssey was finally over—and in 1978 so was his second stint with Marvel. Dante A. Ciampaglia, WIRED, "The Crazy Legacy of Jack Kirby’s Forgotten 2001: A Space Odyssey," 12 May 2018 This north-of-the-border odyssey quickly became its own prison. Michael Slenske, latimes.com, "The rise and fall and rise of Patrick Painter," 27 Mar. 2018

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

21 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for odyssey

The first known use of odyssey was in 1886

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More Definitions for odyssey



English Language Learners Definition of odyssey

: 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

Spanish Central: Translation of odyssey

Nglish: Translation of odyssey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of odyssey for Arabic Speakers

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