What does Minstrel mean?

Definitions for Minstrel
ˈmɪn strəlmin·strel

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Minstrel.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. folk singer, jongleur, minstrel, poet-singer, troubadournoun

    a singer of folk songs

  2. minstrelverb

    a performer in a minstrel show

  3. minstrelverb

    celebrate by singing, in the style of minstrels


  1. minstrelnoun

    A medieval traveling entertainer who would sing and recite poetry, often to his own musical accompaniment.

  2. minstrelnoun

    One of a troupe of entertainers who wore black makeup (blackface) to present a variety show of song, dance and banjo music; now considered racist.

  3. Etymology: menestrel, from menestral from Latin ministerialis, from ministerium, from minister. More at minister.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Minstrelnoun

    A musician; one who plays upon instruments.

    Etymology: menestril, Spanish; menestrallus, low Latin.

    Hark how the minstrels ’gin to shrill aloud
    Their merry musick that resounds from far,
    The pipe, the tabor, and the trembling croud,
    That well agree withouten breach or jar. Edmund Spenser, Epithal.

    I will give you the minstrel.
    —— Then I will give you the serving creature. William Shakespeare.

    I to the vulgar am become a jest;
    Esteemed as a minstrel at a feast. George Sandys, Paraphrase.

    These fellows
    Were once the minstrels of a country show;
    Follow’d the prizes through each paltry town,
    By trumpet-cheeks and bloated faces known. Dryden.

    Often our seers and poets have confess’d,
    That musick’s force can tame the furious beast;
    Can make the wolf, or foaming boar restrain
    His rage; the lion drop his crested mane,
    Attentive to the song; the lynx forget
    His wrath to man, and lick the minstrel’s feet. Matthew Prior.


  1. Minstrel

    A minstrel was an entertainer, initially in medieval Europe. It originally described any type of entertainer such as a musician, juggler, acrobat, singer or fool; later, from the sixteenth century, it came to mean a specialist entertainer who sang songs and played musical instruments.


  1. minstrel

    A minstrel is a type of entertainer from medieval times who traveled from place to place, especially in Europe, singing and reciting poetry. They typically performed songs, told stories, and often played musical instruments such as the lute, harp or fiddle. Minstrels were also known to juggle, perform acrobatics, and perform other forms of entertainment. They can be considered early forms of musicians and poets, providing news, tales and musical entertainment to their audiences.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Minstrelnoun

    in the Middle Ages, one of an order of men who subsisted by the arts of poetry and music, and sang verses to the accompaniment of a harp or other instrument; in modern times, a poet; a bard; a singer and harper; a musician

  2. Etymology: [OE. minstrel, menestral, OF. menestrel, fr. LL. ministerialis servant, workman (cf. ministrellus harpist), fr. L. ministerium service. See Ministry, and cf. Ministerial.]


  1. Minstrel

    A minstrel was a medieval European bard who performed songs whose lyrics told stories of distant places or of existing or imaginary historical events. Although minstrels created their own tales, often they would memorize and embellish the works of others. Frequently they were retained by royalty and high society. As the courts became more sophisticated, minstrels were eventually replaced at court by the troubadours, and many became wandering minstrels, performing in the streets and became well-liked until the middle of the Renaissance, despite a decline beginning in the late 15th century. Minstrelsy fed into later traditions of travelling entertainers, which continued to be moderately strong into the early 20th century, and which has some continuity down to today's buskers or street musicians.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Minstrel

    min′strel, n. one of an order of men who sang to the harp verses composed by themselves or others: a musician: one of a class of performers, with blackened faces, of negro songs.—n. Min′strelsy, the art or occupation of a minstrel: a company or body of minstrels: a collection of songs: (Chaucer) instrumental music. [O. Fr. menestrel—Low L. ministralis—L. minister.]

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    A footlight foul that makes its nightly lay in every city.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce Minstrel?

How to say Minstrel in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Minstrel in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Minstrel in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of Minstrel in a Sentence

  1. Erinn Wong:

    In fact, minstrel blackface has emerged into even more subtle forms of racism that are now glorified all over the Internet.

  2. Rhiannon Giddens:

    When I first heard the minstrel banjo - I played a gourd first - I almost lost my mind. I was like, Oh, my god. And then I went to Africa, to the Gambia, and studied the akonting, which is an ancestor of the banjo, and just that connection to me was just immense.

  3. Kyna Hamill:

    As I mentioned in my article, the first documented performance of the song is in a blackface minstrel hall in Boston in 1857, the same year it was copyrighted, much research has been done on the problematic history of this nineteenth-century entertainment.

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"Minstrel." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 14 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Minstrel>.

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