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[blak-uh-moo r] /ˈblæk əˌmʊər/
noun, Older Use: Disparaging and Offensive.
a contemptuous term used to refer to a black person.
a contemptuous term used to refer to any dark-skinned person.
Origin of blackamoor
First recorded in 1540-50; unexplained variant of phrase black Moor
Usage note
So-called blackamoors, or black Moors, were originally black people from North Africa who worked as servants and slaves in wealthy European households. The negative connotation of the term comes from its historical association with servitude and from the perception that black Moors were strangely exotic. In 1596, Queen Elizabeth I targeted them for deportation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for blackamoor
Historical Examples
  • Six years, and you have turned from a white-skinned Irishman into a blackamoor!

    Paddy Finn W. H. G. Kingston
  • “But somebody did try to wash a blackamoor white,” said Bob.

    Middy and Ensign G. Manville Fenn
  • They think it a beauty, and say white teeth are the sign of a blackamoor.

    Devereux, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • But it is mere waste of soap to attempt to wash a blackamoor white.

    Faustus Friedrich Maximilian von Klinger
  • He is a blackamoor, and derives his extraction from the spice lands.

    The Book of Christmas Thomas K. Hervey
  • Had he yet to learn that he could not wash a blackamoor white?

    The Small House at Allington

    Anthony Trollope
  • Lily, whom he might have had in his bosom, would have been no blackamoor.

    The Small House at Allington

    Anthony Trollope
  • "I have come in response to your summons," replied the blackamoor.

    Jack and the Check Book

    John Kendrick Bangs
  • "A blackamoor, no doubt," said Lady Caroline with conviction.

    My Lord Duke E. W. Hornung
  • Mercy upon me, what shall I do with a blackamoor and a dog both underfoot!

    The Puritan Twins Lucy Fitch Perkins
British Dictionary definitions for blackamoor


/ˈblækəˌmʊə; -ˌmɔː/
(archaic) a Black African or other person with dark skin
Word Origin
C16: see Black, Moor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for blackamoor



"dark-skinned person," 1540s, from black (adj.) + Moor, with connecting element.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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