trou·​ba·​dour | \ˈtrü-bə-ˌdȯr, -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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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

This bill features the next generation of two musical families: Mr. Earle is the son of the country troubadour Steve Earle and named in part for the elder Mr. Earle’s mentor Townes Van Zandt. New York Times, "12 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 17 May 2018 And Gilmore predicts a return to the studio will be in store for the two troubadours. Gary Graff, Billboard, "Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore Team Up for 'Downey to Lubbock': Video Premiere," 5 Apr. 2018 Hal Ketchum Country troubadour has been churning out albums since 1988. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Concerts in Houston: 30 Seconds to Mars and Rosie Flores," 3 July 2018 A few feet away stands a troubadour with his mandolin, both sculpted using flowers. Jay Jones,, "Here's what 57,000 flowers create at Vegas' Bellagio Conservatory, where love is in the air," 12 July 2018 The young troubadour probably got the idea from his alleged girlfriend, Hailey Baldwin. Kenzie Bryant, Vanities, "Justin Bieber Pump-Faked an Engagement," 22 June 2018 Provided by the Songwriters Hall of Fame Nora Guthrie, daughter of iconic troubadour Woody Guthrie, praised John Mellencamp's tenacious commitment to his musical identity during Thursday's Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "John Mellencamp adds Songwriters Hall of Fame to career accolades," 16 June 2018 Unlike a lot of shows with guitar-strumming interlopers, McCoy’s not used as a clumsy strolling-troubadour narrative device. Christopher Arnott,, "'Father Comes From the Wars' A Long But Easy To Follow Journey At Yale Rep," 26 Mar. 2018 True, this acclaimed troubadour and Louisiana native has never been in war or served in the Armed Forces. George Varga,, "Mary Gauthier teams with U.S. military war vets to tell their stories in song on 'Rifles & Rosary Beads'," 21 Mar. 2018

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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Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

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The first known use of troubadour was circa 1741

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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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