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Wandering musician of the Middle Ages, often of low status. The term (and equivalents such as Latin ioculator and French jongleur) was applied in medieval times to people ranging from singing beggars to traveling musicians hired by towns for special occasions to court jesters. The modern folksinger is a descendant. See alsominstrel show.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on minstrel, visit Britannica.com.