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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Dean Butler, who played Almanzo on the show, tells Refinery29 while on his odyssey to Walnut Grove. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "Little House, Big Fans: These People Really, Really Love Laura Ingalls Wilder," 24 Aug. 2019 From Vijoynagar, the caravan walked the final leg of their odyssey to the polling station of Gandhigram. Amrit Dhillon, The Seattle Times, "Poll workers journey to reach India’s most remote voters," 14 Apr. 2019 Jose Menendez’s immigrant odyssey had begun in 1960, when at the age of 16 he was sent to the U.S. by his father, Jose, a onetime soccer star who stayed behind in Cuba until his last investment property was seized by Fidel Castro. Steve Helling, PEOPLE.com, "30 Years After the Menendez Brothers Murders, Read PEOPLE's 1990 Cover Story," 20 Aug. 2019 The transaction kicked off a two-season, three-team odyssey in which Matthews’ once-promising career cratered largely due to injuries. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers receiver Jordan Matthews at peace on roster bubble," 5 Aug. 2019 In 1960, his great-grandson was elected president of the United States, a rags-to-riches odyssey that to this day helps fuel an international fascination with all things Kennedy. Kevin Cullen, BostonGlobe.com, "Courtney Kennedy and Paul Hill’s enduring agony," 3 Aug. 2019 Tour de France cycling odyssey concludes The world’s most famous cycling competition, the grueling three-week-long Tour de France, comes to a close Sunday as the riders finish their journey on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Editors, USA TODAY, "Delta Aquariid meteor shower, Tour de France, Shark Week: 5 things to know this weekend," 27 July 2019 The acclaimed and controversial auteur’s upcoming odyssey through 1969 Los Angeles is a show business rarity: a pricey studio release in the middle of summer that’s not a sequel, remake or superhero film. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Why so many people are talking about Manson-era Hollywood," 25 July 2019 For more information, email Edna@NAMIBroward.org or call 954-258-3990. Design a space odyssey robot, spaceship, alien, or other galactic character alongside Pablo Cano. Jennifer Boehm, sun-sentinel.com, "10 things to do with the kids this weekend: July 18-21," 16 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about odyssey

Dictionary Entries near odyssey








Statistics for odyssey

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for odyssey

The first known use of odyssey was in 1886

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!