[gey-shuh, gee-]

noun, plural gei·sha, gei·shas.

a Japanese woman trained as a professional singer, dancer, and companion for men.

Origin of geisha

1890–95; < Japanese, equivalent to gei arts (< Chinese) + -sha person (< Chin) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for geisha


noun plural -sha or -shas

a professional female companion for men in Japan, trained in music, dancing, and the art of conversation

Word Origin for geisha

C19: from Japanese, from gei art + sha person, from Ancient Chinese ngi and che
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 geisha

1887, "Japanese girl whose profession is to sing and dance to entertain men;" hence, loosely, "prostitute," from Japanese, literally "person accomplished in the social arts," from gei "art, performance" + sha "person." Cf. almah, and Athenian auletrides "flute-girls," female musicians who entertained guests at a symposium with music at the start of the party and sex at the end of it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

geisha in Culture


[(gay-shuh, gee-shuh)]

A Japanese woman who is trained and paid to provide entertainment and amusing company for men.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.