minstrel: Definition of Bardic

mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU
Wed Apr 23 10:16:08 PDT 1997

On Wed, 23 Apr 1997, Greg Lindahl wrote:

> Sayeith the OED about minstrel:
> a. In early use (i.e. down to the end of the 16th c.), a general
> designation for any one whose profession was to entertain his patrons
> with singing, music, and story-telling, or with buffoonery or
> juggling. In modern romantic and historical use commonly with narrowed
> and elevated application: A medieval singer or musician, esp; one who
> sang or recited, to the accompaniment of his own playing on a stringed
> instrument, heroic or lyric poetry composed by himself or others;
> spec. one of the Old English period. 

Interesting.  So the word minstrel has, over time, gone from a generic
meaning to a specific menaing, wheras the word bard has done the exact
opposite.  A lot of words do this.  At one time, the word "bird" meant,
specifically, a young fowl.  (Or did "fowl" mean a young bird?  I get

> Then again, it would kind of make a mess of the "Militant Society of
> Bards"; a completely new acronym would be needed.

And we'd have to try awful hard to try to come up with something better
than the Militant S.O.B.s!

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