Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of questionable morality or repute.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Squinting; not straightforward; sinister.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective of questionable taste, decency, or morality; not reputable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective of questionable taste or morality; decadent
  • adjective not reputable or decent
  • verb intransitive, alcoholic beverages To become cloudy when mixed with water, due to the presence of anethole. This is known as the ouzo effect.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective of questionable taste or morality

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from Old French losche, squint-eyed, feminine of lois, from Latin luscus, blind in one eye.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French louche

Examples

  • For instance, on Monday you may get the word "louche," learning that it means "of questionable character; dubious, disreputable."

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • It looks from the outside like the term louche, as applied to absinthe, comes from a reference to the whitening eye of cataract, but the French dictionary carries all three meanings: squinty, dissolute, and cloudy.

    The Rise and Fall of the Green Fairy

  • It looks from the outside like the term louche, as applied to absinthe, comes from a reference to the whitening eye of cataract, but the French dictionary carries all three meanings: squinty, dissolute, and cloudy.

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • Her work has been described as louche what a lovely sounding word and provocative.

    Boudoir

  • Interestingly, both of these are considerably paler in color than typical French and Swiss absinthes but they do produce the well known "louche" or milky colored opalescence when water is added.

    Boing Boing

  • The word "louche", for example, now means "Of questionable taste or morality; decadent."

    The Rise and Fall of the Green Fairy

  • The word "louche", for example, now means "Of questionable taste or morality; decadent."

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • Overall effect, presumably as intended, was kind of louche and libertarian.

    Charon QC podcast: prisoners and the right to vote

  • That kind of louche, qiana-flavored 1970s attitude is becoming ever more attractive as we head into a sweater-wearing, oil-crisis-flavored 1970s deflationary malaise ... and Jeremy from HotPatterns offered me a copy of this pattern, too!

    You Can Has? - A Dress A Day

  • That kind of louche, qiana-flavored 1970s attitude is becoming ever more attractive as we head into a sweater-wearing, oil-crisis-flavored 1970s deflationary malaise ... and Jeremy from HotPatterns offered me a copy of this pattern, too!

    November 2008

Comments

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  • Louche is my mom's favorite word. It's even her license plate. Hilariously inapt for her sweet self.

    June 24, 2008

  • Seems like it should be a dirty word, but it also sounds like slurring after too much to drink. I bet there's a lot of spitting involved with this word.

    Definitions: of questionable taste or morality

    lacking respectability in character or behavior or appearance

    Of questionable taste or morality; decadent

    Synonyms: shady

    Related terms: Similar to disreputable

    French, from Old French losche, squint-eyed, feminine of lois, from Latin luscus, blind in one eye.

    Dictionary definition of louche

    August 18, 2008

  • Immoral, disreputable, decadent – none of these capture that sleazy yet elegant and brazenly androgynous seductiveness that is at the essence of louche. For me the embodiment of louche (and this is a word that demands to be written in italics, for no other reason than it can't be bothered to stand up straight) is the character "Joel Cairo" in The Maltese Falcon as played by the peerless Peter Lorre, an actor who almost always played louche.

    August 18, 2008

  • "Might she see in me a louche English freeloader down on his luck, here to lure her sickly father into a glorious Indian summer where she can't follow and isn't welcome?" (Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, 051.3).

    January 24, 2010

  • Milky opalescence that results from dripping sugary ice water into absinthe or other spirits flavored with wormwood, anise or fennel.

    February 3, 2010

  • Mmm: "As you slowly add water, the liquid in the glass seems to thicken, and transforms into an opalescent pastel cloud. The French call this effect the louche (which has the wonderful double meaning of turbulent in French and disreputable in English). Technically, when absinthe is distilled, the anise and fennel oils dissolve into the alcohol. As the water dilutes the alcohol, it frees the oils from their molecular prison, and they form a cloudy suspension."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/13/dining/reviews/13wine.html

    February 21, 2010

  • "In the tea-houses and bars of Salacus Fields, Lin's escapades--broadly hinted at, never denied, never made explicit--would be the subject of louche discussion and innuendo." From Perdido Street Station by China Meiville.

    September 18, 2011

  • How droll: louche sounds very much like "roach". Both words give me a creepy feeling.

    May 15, 2013