Definition of odalisque in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈəʊd(ə)lɪsk/


1A female slave or concubine in a harem, especially one in the seraglio of the Sultan of Turkey.
Example sentences
  • But so gaudy a style made her look like a pampered odalisque rather than the mother of the future king.
  • In 1992 it closed, and now it's full of clove smoke and odalisques.
  • Fantasies of decadent odalisques can be dismissed, the harem was essentially the domain of the first wife and a power base for women.
1.1An exotic, sexually attractive woman: you do not have to learn to paint an odalisque like Matisse
More example sentences
  • Here we saw that the tradition of the odalisque could be painted in Native American as well as Middle Eastern guise.
  • Rabinyan presents us with a world in which Persian odalisques lie wistfully, like tantalising fruit, where a certain lyricism pervades the air.
  • His Grande odalisque, with her soft, curving body and dream-like face, bewildered critics at the Salon of 1819.


Late 17th century: from French, from Turkish odalik, from oda 'chamber' + lik 'function'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: odal|isque

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.