ori·​sha ˈȯr-ə-ˌshä How to pronounce orisha (audio)
plural orishas also orisha
: a Yoruba deity
also : one identified with a Roman Catholic saint in Santeria

Examples of orisha in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To me, the green, the land, the river and the railroad tracks are all really important because these elements of the natural world are representative of aspects of the orishas. Yasmina Price, New York Times, 30 Aug. 2023 Angélique Kidjo leads a cast of 10 in the central role of a Yoruban orisha (or spirit). Washington Post, 9 May 2021 During this commemoration in 2016, as hundreds of thousands of devotees prayed to this orisha in an hours-long festivity that always takes place on the beachfront of the Rio Vermelho neighborhood, Cintia Maria, a regular goer, felt deeply bothered. Beatriz Miranda, refinery29.com, 2 Feb. 2023 Angélique Kidjo leads a cast of 10 in the central role of a Yoruban orisha (or spirit) in the production, which makes its Washington bow May 6 and 7 at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. Washington Post, 4 May 2022 An intermediary orisha, Esu serves as the messenger between the priest and Ifa, as the two spirits are close companions to each other. NOLA.com, 1 Sep. 2020 The carved face on the tray represents an orisha, Esu, a messenger from the deities. NOLA.com, 1 Sep. 2020 The paintings are inspired in part by an orisha (god) in the West African religion of Yoruba named Ori, which means head. Darryl Ratcliff, Dallas News, 13 May 2020 Oxum is the orisha of love, commonly represented as a woman dressed in yellow and holding a mirror. Kiratiana Freelon, The Root, 16 Dec. 2017 See More

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

Word History


Yoruba òrìṣà

First Known Use

1854, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of orisha was in 1854

Dictionary Entries Near orisha

Cite this Entry

“Orisha.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orisha. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

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