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noun, plural Ca·lyp·sos.
  1. Also Kalypso. Classical Mythology. a sea nymph who detained Odysseus on the island of Ogygia for seven years.
  2. (lowercase) Also called fairy-slipper. a terrestrial orchid, Calypso bulbosa, of the Northern Hemisphere, having a single variegated purple, yellow, and white flower.
  3. (lowercase) a musical style of West Indian origin, influenced by jazz, usually having topical, often improvised, lyrics.
verb (used without object)
  1. (lowercase) to sing or dance to calypso.

Origin of Calypso

the name of the musical style is of obscure origin and perhaps only copies the spelling of Calypso the sea nymph
Related formsca·lyp·so·ni·an [kuh-lip-soh-nee-uh n, kal-ip-] /kə lɪpˈsoʊ ni ən, ˌkæl ɪp-/, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for calypsonian


  1. a performer or writer of calypsos


noun plural -sos
  1. a popular type of satirical, usually topical, West Indian ballad, esp from Trinidad, usually extemporized to a percussive syncopated accompaniment
  2. a dance done to the rhythm of this song

Word Origin

C20: probably from Calypso


noun plural -sos
  1. a rare N temperate orchid, Calypso (or Cytherea) bulbosa, whose flower is pink or white with purple and yellow markings

Word Origin

C19: named after Calypso


  1. Greek myth (in Homer's Odyssey) a sea nymph who detained Odysseus on the island of Ogygia for seven years
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for calypsonian


sea nymph in the "Odyssey," literally "hidden, hider" (perhaps originally a death goddess) from Greek kalyptein "to cover, conceal," from PIE *kel- "to cover, conceal, save," root of English Hell (see cell). The West Indian type of song is so called from 1934, of unknown origin or connection to the nymph.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper