Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A medieval entertainer who traveled from place to place, especially to sing and recite poetry.
  • noun A lyric poet.
  • noun A musician.
  • noun A performer in a minstrel show.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A musician, especially one who sings or recites to the accompaniment of instruments.
  • noun Hence Any poet or musician. [Poetical.]3, Originally, one of a class of singers of negro melodies and delineators of life on the Southern plantations which originated in the United States about 1830: called negro minstrels, although they are usually white men whose faces and hands are blackened with burnt cork.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a singer of folk songs
  • verb celebrate by singing, in the style of minstrels
  • noun a performer in a minstrel show

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English minstral, from Old French menestrel, servant, entertainer, from Late Latin ministeriālis, official in the imperial household, from Latin ministerium, ministry; see ministry.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English menestrel, from Old French menestral ("entertainer, servant, official") from Latin ministerialis ("servant"), from ministerium ("service"), from minister ("servant"). More at minister.

Examples

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