Definition of minstrelsy in English:



mass noun
  • The activity of performing as a minstrel or the occupation of a minstrel.

    ‘a long tradition of minstrelsy’
    • ‘Since such moments of interracial experience afforded by the revivals implied that blackness was not a separate but rather a shared dimension of life, minstrelsy's ridicule of black music making reasserted white superiority.’
    • ‘Such characters emerged in late eighteenth-century plays and sheet music, and became mainstays of nineteenth-century minstrelsy.’
    • ‘Tosches documents the rise and fall of minstrelsy in an impressive, sometimes dizzying chronicle of long-forgotten names that made me wish the book had an audio component (photos wouldn't have hurt, either).’
    • ‘This ensured the continuance of the blackface minstrelsy type into the new century as surely as it brought to an end the pejoratively associated whiteface type.’
    • ‘In doing so, black minstrelsy signified on the white supremacist belief that black degeneracy would ultimately lead to the extinction of the black race.’
    • ‘A word may be added concerning Lhamon's prose style, perhaps derived from his long immersion in minstrelsy.’
    • ‘Brander Mathews's autopsy found that the popularity of vaudeville, cliche-ridden material, and competition from the new musicals with women in chorus lines had caused minstrelsy's demise.’
    • ‘Chapters 4-7 begin with a full analysis of the representation of blacks in Griffith's infamous The Birth of a Nation, which revived in full the tradition of blackface minstrelsy.’
    • ‘The would-be Shakespearean actor's lot as minstrel may be a tragedy, but his hidden access to the cultural treasure of the West ensures that minstrelsy and musical comedy would each in turn lay the groundwork for their own supersession.’
    • ‘After emancipation in 1863, minstrelsy was taken over increasingly by black performers.’
    • ‘If it's true that Foster was no fan of minstrelsy and blackface, it's not something he would be proud of, regardless of the strained Southern black dialect in his lyrics.’
    • ‘Was Stein merely adopting the persona of her African-American protagonist, Melanctha Herbert, for purely aesthetic purposes, thus implicating her version of modernism in other forms of popular black-face minstrelsy?’
    • ‘South Park creates a form of black voice minstrelsy in which the show's creators occupy a wide array of character voices, whereas the black character Chef fixes its voice actor Isaac Hayes to play only a version of himself.’
    • ‘Like those later musics, minstrelsy had, or claimed to have, something to do with black people.’
    • ‘A stage show where whites blackened their faces with cork, mimicked the alleged behavior of Southern blacks, and performed songs supposedly created by those blacks, minstrelsy was born and bred in the heart of the North.’
    • ‘Cole discusses such sensitive topics as female impersonation and minstrelsy in order to deconstruct and elaborate on the many nuances of the concert party theater.’
    • ‘Tap dance evolved from plantation dances and minstrelsy, and the Broadway musical grew out of burlesque and operettas.’
    • ‘While some female actors did provide inspired moments of sexual liberation, they sometimes did so in ways reminiscent of the conflicted white emotional investments in blackface minstrelsy explicated by Eric Lott.’
    • ‘In their dancing, in their minstrelsy and then in ragtime, black Americans were insisting on setting European-style music free by refusing to be restricted to a ground beat.’
    • ‘On the other hand, greater appreciation of the role of minstrelsy in jazz and entertainment in general might have improved the analysis in, for example, his discussion of Woody Herman's clowning and singing the blues.’


Middle English: from Old French menestralsie, from menestrel (see minstrel).