Definition of odalisque in English:



  • 1historical A female slave or concubine in a harem, especially one in the seraglio of the Sultan of Turkey.

    • ‘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.’
    boyfriend, girlfriend, man friend, woman friend, lady friend, lady-love, beau, loved one, beloved, love, darling, sweetheart
    1. 1.1An exotic, sexually attractive woman.
      ‘you do not have to learn to paint an odalisque like Matisse’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We ask ourselves, what is the real difference between a harem and a brothel, an odalisque and a call-girl.’
      • ‘In La Belle Rafaela, 1927, de Lempicka provocatively posed a Parisian prostitute in a close-up image as voluptuous female odalisque or reclining nude.’
      • ‘Bony, bare and unclothed, these models are individualized, specific women, not generic odalisques.’
      • ‘But now I don't expect Ann Pennington to hold the same charm for me as a Matisse odalisque.’
      • ‘Throughout the exhibition, Fluffy drew his usual odalisque on 14-foot-long sheets of paper attached to one wall.’
      • ‘White Azaleas presents an erotically accessible odalisque, stretched out on a low daybed.’


Late 17th century from French, from Turkish odalik, from oda ‘chamber’ + lik ‘function’.