od·​ys·​sey ˈä-də-sē How to pronounce odyssey (audio)
plural odysseys
: 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 booksJ. E. Wideman
: 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 This is the startup odyssey, a voyage not for the timid but for the bold who dare to dream differently. Ranghan Venkatraman, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Right now, this odyssey can’t be outsourced to the AI assistants on the market. Kathy Pham, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024 As many parents know, figuring out a schedule for the eight weeks that school is out is an odyssey. Kathy Pham, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024 Acclimating to the massive travel odyssey has messed with Hojgaard’s internal clock. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Jan. 2024 Researchers at the Alaska Stable Isotope Facility learned of Elma’s odyssey by analyzing isotopes from her tusk, which was first identified in 2009 at the Swan Point archaeological site in Interior Alaska. Jack Knudson, Discover Magazine, 17 Jan. 2024 The Coconut Grove location represents the culmination of a two-year odyssey that began in 2021 when Givenchy, who’d remained in New York during the height of the pandemic, ventured south to the Sunshine State in part to understand why so many of his clients had flocked there. Victoria Gomelsky, Robb Report, 13 Jan. 2024 The day came on the heels of a 36-hour travel odyssey that started with a 2 a.m. bus ride to Los Angeles and flights to Seattle, Amsterdam and Rwanda before touching down at Entebbe International Airport. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Dec. 2023 Lanthimos hired him six months before beginning principal photography on his sci-fi black comedy starring Emma Stone as Bella, a Victorian woman raised from the dead who embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery. Jon Burlingame, Variety, 13 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of odyssey was in 1886

Dictionary Entries Near odyssey

Cite this Entry

“Odyssey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/odyssey. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


od·​ys·​sey ˈäd-ə-sē How to pronounce odyssey (audio)
plural odysseys
: a long wandering or series of travels

named for the Odyssey, a long poem from ancient Greece telling the story of the 10-year wanderings of Odysseus, a Greek hero and king

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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