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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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 Instead, the episode follows the miserable odyssey of Loquareeous (Christopher Farrar), a grade-school kid who gets sent to the principal's office for a minor dancing outburst. Darren Franich, EW.com, 23 Mar. 2022 Tenant advocates say the odyssey through California’s maze of state and local rent relief programs isn’t uncommon for Bay Area renters looking for help. Lauren Hepler, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Mar. 2022 But the odyssey continued even after the jury reached its verdict. Benjamin Weiser, New York Times, 1 Apr. 2022 That was notable for anyone who had to trek through the odyssey of social encounters separating the East Bay from the heart of San Francisco. Manvir Singh, Wired, 30 Mar. 2022 Nathan chose to feature the 1972 Clean Water Act and included the odyssey of the Cuyahoga River. Peter Krouse, cleveland, 22 Mar. 2022 The Oscar winner's heartbreaking lead role is just one reason why the unconventional Portland cuisine odyssey deserved more attention from the Academy. Darren Franich, EW.com, 16 Mar. 2022 After the 25-year-old Minnesotan had been guided by patriotic farmers to the Hanottes’ home, Monique looked after him but realized he was too badly hurt to attempt the odyssey behind German lines in France and over the Pyrenees. Washington Post, 24 Feb. 2022 It’s been adopted as a tongue-in-cheek slogan, referring not only to the cuisine that informs the restaurant’s cooking but also the five-year odyssey that owners Jason Goldman and Christian Stayner endured to open their place. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 11 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of odyssey was in 1886

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Odyssey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odyssey. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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