Definitions for joss house

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Random House Webster's College Dictionary

joss′ house`(n.)

  1. a Chinese temple for idol worship.

    Category: Eastern Religions

Origin of joss house:

1765–75

Princeton's WordNet

  1. joss house(noun)

    a Chinese temple or shrine for idol worship

Freebase

  1. Joss house

    A Shenist temple or Chinese folk temple is a place for worshiping the variety of indigenous Chinese shen from Chinese folk religion and Chinese mythology. They can be distinguished into miao, called "joss houses", "deity houses" or simply "temples" in English, and ci, called "ancestral halls" or simply "temples" in English. Both the terms actually mean "temple" in Chinese, and they've been used interchangeably many times. However miao is the general Chinese term for "temple" understood as "place of worship", and can be used for places of worship of any religion. In Chinese folk religion it is mostly associated with temples which enshrine nature gods and patron gods. Instead ci is the specific term for temples enshrining ancestry gods, human beings apotheosized as gods. "Joss" is a corrupted version of the Portuguese word for "god", deus. "Joss house" was in common use in English in western North America during frontier times, when joss houses were a common feature of Chinatowns. The name "joss house" describes the environment of worship. Joss sticks, a kind of incense, are burned inside and outside of the house.

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