From Chinese Pidgin English, from Portuguese deus (“god”), from Latin deus (“god”), from Proto-Indo-European *deywós (“god/that which belongs to heaven”).
joss (countable and uncountable, plural josses)
- (countable) A Chinese household divinity; a Chinese idol.
- (countable) A heathen divinity.
- 1939, Philip George Chadwick, The Death Guard, pages 111–112:
- Don't forget they're mostly just joss-worshipping heathen an' they don't get no kick out of the more classy breeds o' religion. Though I guess there ain't that much diff'rence. It ain't many's so Lord Almighty in theirselves that they don't need a joss of some sort, an' I guess it's what yu think about him matters not the sort o' joss.
- (uncountable, informal) Luck.
- 1977, John Le Carré, The Honourable Schoolboy, Folio Society 2010, p. 178:
- She had twisted a piece of heather into her mail box for good joss, and this was the safety signal.
- ^ “joss” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.