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 And then, in 1961, someone showed up at the house looking for Woody, a 20-year-old troubadour named Bob Dylan. Liza Lentini, SPIN, 30 Sep. 2022 This isn’t a romantic tale of a restless troubadour riding the rails, though. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 1 Sep. 2022 Like Hansard, Frank is a singer-songwriter with a distinctive troubadour vocal and guitar-playing style. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Apr. 2022 Robert Earl Keen’s Friday show at the Birchmere, on a tour designed to let the Texas troubadour say farewell to fans and vice versa, was full of melancholy raucousness. Dave Mckenna, Washington Post, 24 July 2022 As a folk-pop troubadour with Jim Messina in the ’70s, undeniable czar of movie soundtracks in the '80s, thoughtful environmentalist in the ’90s and yacht-rock hero of the current day. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 19 June 2022 One of the beneficiaries of Dylan’s revolutionary acts was Leonard Cohen, a Canadian poet and novelist who was compelled by the times and his muses, and no doubt by example of Dylan, to become a troubadour. Glenn Kenny,, 7 July 2022 Seals did not travel the standard route to strumming troubadour. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 7 June 2022 The musical coda for the Thursday afternoon round will feature a concert by Grammy nominated troubadour James Bay with former Brit Award winner James Morrison leading off. Mike Dojc, Forbes, 6 June 2022 See More

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.

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

4 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Troubadour.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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