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[jos] /dʒɒs/
a Chinese house idol or cult image.
Origin of joss1
Chinese Pidgin English
1705-15; < Chinese Pidgin English < Portuguese deos < Latin deus god


[jos] /dʒɒs/
noun, British, Australian Informal.
a foreman or boss.
First recorded in 1855-60; origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for joss
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The result was that joss learned to read and write before the voyage was over.

    The Shellback's Progress Walter Runciman
  • She felt as astonished as if some Confucian fanatic had set up his joss at auction.

    The Coast of Chance Esther Chamberlain
  • "I should think Wang would like her, to put her in his joss house," he said disrespectfully.

    In Blue Creek Caon Anna Chapin Ray
  • When they mounted the joss house stairs she lagged behind; and Bertram lagged with her.

    The Readjustment Will Irwin
  • That fellow has a joss in his cabin, and very likely a prayer-wheel; but he's a capital cook.

    In the High Valley Susan Coolidge
British Dictionary definitions for joss


a Chinese deity worshipped in the form of an idol
Word Origin
C18: from pidgin English, from Portuguese deos god, from Latin deus
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
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Word Origin and History for joss

"Chinese figure of a deity," 1711, from Chinese Pidgin English, from Javanese dejos, taken 16c. from Portuguese deus "god," from Latin deus (see Zeus). Colloquially, it came to mean "luck." Joss stick "Chinese incense" first recorded 1883.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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