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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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

Waller began her role as the state’s 17th troubadour in August 2018. Rebecca Lurye,, "Hartford to pay $125K to state troubadour Nekita Waller in slip-and-fall case," 9 July 2019 The lineup, which largely features women artists, includes Natasha Bedingfield, Hey Violet (who perform at 4:15 p.m. Saturday) and such talented San Diego troubadours as Astra Kelly and Jessica Lerner. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro will rock Oceanside on land and water," 21 July 2019 The former, almost Mozartean in simplicity, is made up of bun, burger, bun, the ABA form so beloved by poets and troubadours, perhaps jazzed up by the addition of a condiment or two. Peter Meehan, Los Angeles Times, "A collection of Gold-isms: soft-porn videocassettes, Claes Oldenburg and Metallica," 18 July 2019 Waylon Night - Wes Morrison & the Stray Hares, Amy Robbins, Geoffery Cravero and more take on the oeuvre of troubadour Waylon Jennings. Trevor Fraser,, "Amy Winehouse revival and more: 5 concerts for your Orlando area weekend," 13 June 2019 The Dylan of Rolling Thunder Revue is a surly troubadour in eyeliner and patchy white face paint, which was possibly, or quite probably not, inspired by the stage makeup worn by Kiss. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Martin Scorsese’s Bob Dylan Film Rolling Thunder Revue Is One of the Most Truthful Movies You’ll See in 2019," 12 June 2019 Bob Dylan is a Nobel Prize–winning, profoundly quixotic troubadour who is quite rightly seen as one of the world’s greatest-ever songwriters and performers. Luke Leitch, Vogue, "Bob Dylan’s Drawings and the Lyrics That Inspired Them Go on View in London," 8 Oct. 2018 The soft-rock troubadour closed the fest by often turning existential dread into a cathartic reprieve. Michael Rietmulder, The Seattle Times, "Capitol Hill Block Party rages on with #MeToo undertones," 23 July 2018 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

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

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for troubadour

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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to spread over or through

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