min·​strel·​sy | \ ˈmin(t)-strəl-sē How to pronounce minstrelsy (audio) \

Definition of minstrelsy

1 : the singing and playing of a minstrel
2 : a body of minstrels
3 : a group of songs or verse

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Synonyms & Antonyms for minstrelsy



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Examples of minstrelsy in a Sentence

the traditional forms of German minstrelsy
Recent Examples on the Web European blackface and American minstrelsy alike assume that performing blackness is a white birthright—that the stage is a white domain in which blacks are not allowed to tell their own stories, or even enjoy basic dignities. Ayanna Thompson, Smithsonian Magazine, "Blackface Is Older Than You Might Think," 29 Apr. 2021 Is this content a new kind of collaborative performance art — or modern minstrelsy? Cheri Lucas Rowlands, Longreads, "Longreads Best of 2020: Arts and Culture," 16 Dec. 2020 The turn of the century represented the height of black minstrelsy, violent attacks on black communities, and the Supreme Court ruling on Plessy v. Ferguson, which made segregation the law of the land. Kellie Carter Jackson, The Atlantic, "Juneteenth Has Always Been Worthy of Celebration," 19 June 2020 The Elvis of early minstrelsy, Thomas Dartmouth Rice, was a son of Irish immigrants from the neighborhood’s infamous Five Points slum. John Strausbaugh, New York Times, "The Lower East Side in 8 Songs," 21 Feb. 2020 What better framing device for a racist travesty than minstrelsy, a theatrical form based on the grotesque caricature of blacks? Andrea Simakis, cleveland, "Kander and Ebb’s ‘The Scottsboro Boys’ at the Beck Center entrances as it weaves its story of savage racial injustice," 16 Feb. 2020 In one scene, Jason reacts to the scandal of Gucci’s offensive cluelessness in marketing a sweater evocative of blackface minstrelsy. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "Why “Styling Hollywood” Is One of the Best Celebrity-Stylist Reality Shows," 30 Aug. 2019 Dances inspired by the moves of Cotton Club greats, like Cab Calloway, Josephine Baker, and the Nicholas Brothers, are juxtaposed with more cartoony minstrelsy steps—flung limbs, hops, tumbles, and stumbling gaits. Maya Phillips, The New Yorker, "“The Black Clown” Beautifully Reconfigures a Langston Hughes Poem," 24 July 2019 Richard Wright accused her of minstrelsy, and the broader literary movement toward race-conscious social realism caused her books to slide into obscurity. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Through the Spyglass of Anthropology," 17 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'minstrelsy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of minstrelsy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for minstrelsy

Middle English mynstralcye, borrowed from Anglo-French menestralsie, menstralcie, from menestral, menstral minstrel + -sie, -cie -cy

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Time Traveler for minstrelsy

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The first known use of minstrelsy was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Minstrelsy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/minstrelsy. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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