or o·da·lisk



a female slave or concubine in a harem, especially in that of the sultan of Turkey.
(initial capital letter) any of a number of representations of such a woman or of a similar subject, as by Ingres or Matisse.

Origin of odalisque

1675–85; < French, alteration of earlier odalique (with -s- perhaps from -esque -esque) < Turkish odalιk concubine, equivalent to oda room + -lιk noun suffix of appurtenance
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for odalisque

Historical Examples of odalisque

  • The odalisque arrived last night, and I am in a great quandary.

  • This had been begun forty years before, at the time of the early “Bathers” and “Odalisque.”


    A. J. Finberg

  • An odalisque in the seraglio can love the Sultan with all her might.

  • Sickly perfumes, as from the fan of an odalisque, swept over them.

    The Drunkard

    Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull

  • Underneath the picture was printed the title, "The Odalisque."

    Song of the Lark

    Willa Cather

British Dictionary definitions for odalisque




a female slave or concubine

Word Origin for odalisque

C17: via French, changed from Turkish ōdalik, from ōdah room + -lik n suffix
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 odalisque

"female slave in a harem," 1680s, from French odalisque (1660s), from Turkish odaliq "maidservant," from odah "room in a harem," literally "chamber, hall," + -liq, suffix expressing function. In French, the suffix was confused with Greek -isk(os) "of the nature of, belonging to."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper