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


poesy, poetry, song, verse



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Examples of minstrelsy in a Sentence

the traditional forms of German minstrelsy

Recent Examples on the Web

This early exemplar of thematic dining — which lured Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart, Lana Turner and James Dean — attempts to atone for having long peddled an oblivious Oriental minstrelsy of Dragon Ladies and Fu Manchu beards. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, "Formosa Cafe: Dining Review," 23 Aug. 2019 Blackface, widely seen as a racist relic of Jim Crow-era minstrelsy in the United States, remains ubiquitous in Belgium and other European countries. Washington Post, "A Belgian festival has long featured a ‘savage’ in blackface. Is it time for the U.N. to stop honoring it?," 20 Aug. 2019 Char used black permanent marker to give himself blackface, reported KGMB-TV.. Blackface is widely considered to be a racist caricature rooted in pre-civil rights era minstrelsy. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Man convicted in road rage attack wore blackface, delivered racist defense in court," 26 Jan. 2019 Some people reject the idea that blackface – a relic of minstrelsy, popular entertainment from the 19th century rooted in the mimicry and mocking of plantation slaves – is racist. Monica Rhor, USA TODAY, "'Deeply offensive' blackface video of California high school student sparks backlash," 8 Feb. 2019 Blackface minstrelsy is considered by some to be the first uniquely American form of entertainment. Jesse J. Holland, The Seattle Times, "Explaining the outrage: Racist history of American blackface began in the 1830s," 6 Feb. 2019 Blitzstein, sometimes at the risk of minstrelsy, absorbed the musical voice of the South, where the opera takes place, while writing symphonic music with the economy and directness of Copland. Joshua Barone, New York Times, "Susan Graham, Opera’s Sweetheart, Tries Something New: Being Nasty," 5 June 2018 In this, Glover certainly isn’t the first artist to suggest that black popular entertainment can simultaneously work as minstrelsy, appeasing a racist system, and as a gas valve of joy for people crunched by that system. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Donald Glover Is Watching You Watch Him," 7 May 2018 In February, the city of Pittsburgh decided to remove a statue of the composer Stephen Foster, whose music supplied the canon of American minstrelsy during the 1840s, from its prominent place at the entrance to Schenley Park. Ginia Bellafante, New York Times, "Statue of Doctor Who Did Slave Experiments Is Exiled. Its Ideas Are Not.," 18 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for minstrelsy

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for minstrelsy

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

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