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 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 Anthony Bourdain’s Globalist Mission With ‘Parts Unknown,’ now in its 11th season, Bourdain continues a restless odyssey to understand our global community through food. WSJ, "WSJ. Magazine’s 10 Most-Read Stories of 2018," 17 Dec. 2018 The future Those newfangled Xe GPUs aren’t even close to launching yet, and this is just the beginning of Intel’s odyssey with the Graphics Command Center. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Intel's gaming odyssey takes voyage with a slick new Graphics Command Center," 20 Mar. 2019 As mysteries go, this one is a bit silly, and that's fine -- not every book has to be some dour, straight-faced odyssey of murder (those do have their place, see below). Will Nevin, OregonLive.com, "TBT #35: Weight loss camp murders, kid heists and more coming in comics," 20 Apr. 2018 Although some might have political objections to a film that celebrates bringing Western culture to a remote village in India, ignore those spoilsports and enjoy a fascinating musical odyssey. Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Piano to Zanskar': Film Review | Edinburgh 2018," 5 July 2018 The title is a reference to Butthole Surfers’ Jeff Pinkus, who joins Off!/Redd Kross’ bassist Steven McDonald (along with Dale Crover and King Buzzo) for a double bass odyssey. Courtney Devores, charlotteobserver, "8 buzzworthy concerts coming to Charlotte in the next week | Charlotte Observer," 2 May 2018 This odyssey is all thanks to the globally minded designers who simply refuse to see borders—from Karl Lagerfeld to Hedi Slimane, Stella McCartney to Jun Takahashi, Riccardo Tisci to Demna Gvasalia. Vogue, "How These 12 Boundary-Breaking Designers Continue to Think Globally," 13 Aug. 2018 His odyssey on the global stage was bookmarked with a third World Cup in 1970, but as England lifted the trophy in 66' Pele was at his transitional stage of his career which further points to Chile being in his career heyday. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 14 Weeks to Go - How the World Was Robbed of Pele at His Greatest," 17 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

6 Jun 2019

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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

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

Comments on odyssey

What made you want to look up odyssey? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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