trou·​ba·​dour ˈtrü-bə-ˌdȯr How to pronounce troubadour (audio)
: 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
: a singer especially of folk songs

Did you know?

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 The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer performed Monday in San Diego and then zoomed back East and made a guest appearance (with fellow troubadour Maggie Rogers) at a show by country star Zach Bryan at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. Jim Harrington, The Mercury News, 29 Mar. 2024 Lyle Lovett: The phenomenally talented country music troubadour brings his great vocal work and wonderful wit — as well as his Acoustic Band — to the Fox Theatre in Redwood City on March 13. Randy McMullen, The Mercury News, 6 Mar. 2024 The La Jolla Music Society presents the internationally renowned Canadian dance company in a concert that brings the music and poems of troubadour Leonard Cohen to life. Marcia Luttrell, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Mar. 2024 The three troubadours first famously shared the stage at the first Farm Aid benefit concert in 1985. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Feb. 2024 Here are three upcoming Bay Area concerts that should be on your radar: Lyle Lovett — The phenomenally talented country music troubadour brings his great vocal work and wonderful wit — as well as his Acoustic Band — to the Fox Theatre in Redwood City on March 13. Jim Harrington, The Mercury News, 26 Feb. 2024 There was the troubadour John Brannen, who possessed a rootsy sound and a quaver that channeled Roy Orbison’s. Brad Shoup, The Atlantic, 8 Feb. 2024 At Tropical Park, the Cuban American troubadour Albita will give a free performance at 8 p.m. Friday as part of the Noches Tropicales/Tropical Nights series. Miami Staff, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 His demise denied South Florida fans what doubtless would have been their last chance to catch the beloved Canadian troubadour in concert. Greg Carannante, Sun Sentinel, 10 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'troubadour.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1741, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of troubadour was circa 1741


Dictionary Entries Near troubadour

Cite this Entry

“Troubadour.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


trou·​ba·​dour ˈtrü-bə-ˌdō(ə)r How to pronounce troubadour (audio)
: a poet-musician of the Middle Ages in France and Italy
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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