Word of the Day: Odalisque

From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: oda·lisque
Pronunciation: ‘O-d&l-“isk
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Turkish odalik, from oda room
1 : a female slave
2 : a concubine in a harem

This word, too, was in Bruce Alexander’s more verbose tome, Murder in Grub Street, just two pages past ananeunism (See. I got the spelling wrong already. amaneunsis) on page 63.

It was used as another word for “light skirt,” or prostitute, or whore. I would not have thought it meant an owned woman, but a bought woman. Perhaps there is a philosophical etymology there.

I also think it is interesting that such a word came to English from the Turkish THROUGH French. For the French are quite prepared to absurdly protect their language from foreign incursions, even if not their land. Of course, I have no idea from this entry how old the borrowing is. But it was a note of interest to me and so I shared it with you.