Definitions

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

  • adj. Of questionable taste or morality; decadent: "The rebuilt [Moscow hotel] is home to the flashy, louche Western disco Manhattan Express” ( Liesl Schillinger).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Squinting; not straightforward; sinister.

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

  • adj. of questionable taste or morality

Etymologies

French, from Old French losche, squint-eyed, feminine of lois, from Latin luscus, blind in one eye.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French louche (Wiktionary)

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.

    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."

    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!

    November 2008

  • I had moved my scant wardrobe into one of the rooms in the female section of International House and on my first day found a kind of louche society there, or so it might have seemed to an outsider.

    Borrowed Finery, A Memoir

  • I’ve always wondered why the word louche often ends up in stories about contemporary culture, and now I know I can blame Maureen Dowd.

    Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » From the Mailbox 2.0

  • Led Zeppelin band members roamed the corridors on motorcycle and where a constellation of young stars has taken indefinite residence as a kind of louche rite of passage over the years

    latimes.com - News

Comments

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

    May 15, 2013

  • "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

  • 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

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

    February 3, 2010

  • "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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    June 24, 2008