trou·​ba·​dour | \ ˈtrü-bə-ˌdȯr How to pronounce troubadour (audio) , -ˌdu̇r \

Definition of troubadour

1 : one of a class of lyric poets and poet-musicians often of knightly rank who flourished from the 11th to the end of the 13th century chiefly in the south of France and the north of Italy and whose major theme was courtly love — compare trouvère
2 : a singer especially of folk songs

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In the Middle Ages, troubadours were the shining knights of poetry (in fact, some were ranked as high as knights in the feudal class structure). Troubadours made chivalry a high art, writing poems and singing about chivalrous love, creating the mystique of refined damsels, and glorifying the gallant knight on his charger. Troubadour was a fitting name for such creative artists; it derives from an Old Occitan word meaning "to compose." In modern contexts, troubadour still refers to the song-meisters of the Middle Ages, but it has been extended to cover contemporary poet-musicians as well.

Examples of troubadour in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Forty nine years later, as Armatrading has released the superb and powerful Consequences, two things stand out when speaking with the iconic troubadour. Steve Baltin, Forbes, 7 July 2021 It’s a pounding pop number, and a major shift from Sheeran’s troubadour style. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 18 June 2021 By 1968, the L.A.-via-Orange-Country troubadour was moving beyond the keening-balladeer mode of his early work — a mere two years before — and gravitating toward jazz and improvisational music. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 11 June 2021 Musical guests will include Bomba Ashe, state troubadour Nekita Waller, and Nelson Bello and Friends. Samira Jallow,, 23 June 2021 Other confirmed artists range from vocal wizard Bobby McFerrin, genre-leaping guitar star Pat Metheny and the Indigo Girls to multiple Grammy Award-winning Oceanside troubadour Jason Mraz and Brazilian pop mainstay Sergio Mendes. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 May 2021 Even in the Sixties, Eric Andersen was never a typical troubadour. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 27 Apr. 2021 If the curtain does rise here in L.A. this fall, at least our troubadour — thanks to Barcelona — will not be rusty. James C. Taylor, Los Angeles Times, 30 Mar. 2021 Cat Power might be Lana’s closest immediate predecessor -- a sometimes uncomfortably raw songwriter and performer, who reinvented herself as a soulful troubadour in the second half of her career. Richard S. He, Billboard, 28 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'troubadour.' 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 troubadour

circa 1741, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for troubadour

French, from Old Occitan trobador, from trobar to compose, from Vulgar Latin *tropare, from Latin tropus trope

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The first known use of troubadour was circa 1741

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Last Updated

12 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Troubadour.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of troubadour

: a writer and performer of songs or poetry in the Middle Ages


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