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Definition of "burlesque" []

  • A literary or dramatic work that ridicules a subject either by presenting a solemn subject in an undignified style or an inconsequential subject in a dignified style. See Synonyms at caricature. (noun)
  • A ludicrous or mocking imitation; a travesty: The antics of the defense attorneys turned the trial into a burlesque of justice. (noun)
  • A variety show characterized by broad ribald comedy, dancing, and striptease. (noun)
  • To imitate mockingly or humorously: "always bringing junk . . . home, as if he were burlesquing his role as provider” ( John Updike). (verb-transitive)
  • To use the methods or techniques of burlesque. (verb-intransitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "burlesque" in a sentence
  • "The word burlesque comes from the Latin word burra meaning nonsense and the Italian word burla meaning mockery."
  • "It proved to be the lowest kind of music-ball down in the Loop district what they call burlesque nowadays-with sawdust on the floor, a great bar down one side of the hall doing a roaring trade, pit and gallery crowded with raucous toughs and their flash tarts, an atmosphere blue with smoke and a programme to match."
  • "He would later leave to play piano or organ in burlesque houses."