Definitions for burlesquebərˈlɛsk

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word burlesque

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

bur•lesque*bərˈlɛsk(n.; adj.; v.)-lesqued, -lesquing.

  1. (n.)a comic literary or dramatic piece that vulgarizes lofty material or elevates the ordinary.

    Category: Literature

  2. any ludicrous parody or grotesque caricature.

  3. a stage show featuring comic, usu. bawdy skits and striptease acts.

    Category: Showbiz

  4. (adj.)involving ludicrous or mocking treatment of a solemn subject.

  5. of, pertaining to, or like stage-show burlesque.

    Category: Showbiz

  6. (v.t.)to make ridiculous by mocking representation.

  7. (v.i.)to use burlesque or caricature.

* Syn: burlesque , caricature , parody , travesty refer to literary or dramatic forms that imitate works or subjects to achieve a humorous or satiric purpose. The characteristic device of burlesque is mockery of serious or trivial subjects through association with their opposites: a burlesque of high and low life. caricature , usu. associated with visual arts or with visual effects in literary works, implies exaggeration of characteristic details: The caricature emphasized his large nose. parody achieves its humor through application of the style or technique of a well-known work or author to unaccustomed subjects: a parody of Hemingway.travesty takes a serious subject and uses a style or language that seems incongruous or absurd: a travesty of a senator making a speech.

Origin of burlesque:

1650–60; < F < It burlesco, der. of burl(a) jest

Princeton's WordNet

  1. burlesque(noun)

    a theatrical entertainment of broad and earthy humor; consists of comic skits and short turns (and sometimes striptease)

  2. parody, lampoon, spoof, sendup, mockery, takeoff, burlesque, travesty, charade, pasquinade, put-on(adj)

    a composition that imitates or misrepresents somebody's style, usually in a humorous way

  3. burlesque(verb)

    relating to or characteristic of a burlesque

    "burlesque theater"

  4. spoof, burlesque, parody(verb)

    make a parody of

    "The students spoofed the teachers"


  1. burlesque(Noun)

    A derisive art form that mocks by imitation; a parody

  2. burlesque(Noun)

    A variety adult entertainment show, usually including titillation such as striptease, most common from the 1880s to the 1930s.

  3. burlesque(Verb)

    To make a burlesque parody of

  4. burlesque(Adjective)


  5. Origin: burlesque, from burlesco.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Burlesque(adj)

    tending to excite laughter or contempt by extravagant images, or by a contrast between the subject and the manner of treating it, as when a trifling subject is treated with mock gravity; jocular; ironical

  2. Burlesque(noun)

    ludicrous representation; exaggerated parody; grotesque satire

  3. Burlesque(noun)

    an ironical or satirical composition intended to excite laughter, or to ridicule anything

  4. Burlesque(noun)

    a ludicrous imitation; a caricature; a travesty; a gross perversion

  5. Burlesque(verb)

    to ridicule, or to make ludicrous by grotesque representation in action or in language

  6. Burlesque(verb)

    to employ burlesque


  1. Burlesque

    Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. The word derives from the Italian burlesco, which, in turn, is derived from the Italian burla – a joke, ridicule or mockery. Burlesque overlaps in meaning with caricature, parody and travesty, and, in its theatrical sense, with extravaganza, as presented during the Victorian era. "Burlesque" has been used in English in this literary and theatrical sense since the late 17th century. It has been applied retrospectively to works of Chaucer and Shakespeare and to the Graeco-Roman classics. Contrasting examples of literary burlesque are Alexander Pope's sly The Rape of the Lock and Samuel Butler's irreverent Hudibras. An example of musical burlesque is Richard Strauss's 1890 Burleske for piano and orchestra. Examples of theatrical burlesques include W. S. Gilbert's Robert the Devil and the A. C. Torr – Meyer Lutz shows, including Ruy Blas and the Blasé Roué. A later use of the term, particularly in the United States, refers to performances in a variety show format. These were popular from the 1860s to the 1940s, often in cabarets and clubs, as well as theatres, and featured bawdy comedy and female striptease. Some Hollywood films attempted to recreate the spirit of these performances from the 1930s to the 1960s, or included burlesque-style scenes within dramatic films, such as 1972's Cabaret and 1979's All That Jazz, among others. There has been a resurgence of interest in this format since the 1990s.


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