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or jim-crow

[jim-kroh] /ˈdʒɪmˈkroʊ/
favoring or supporting Jim Crow.
for black people only:
a Jim-Crow school.

Jim Crow

or jim crow

a practice or policy of segregating or discriminating against black people, as in public places, public vehicles, or employment.
Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a black person.
Origin of Jim Crow
An Americanism dating back to 1830-40; so called from the name of a song sung by Thomas Rice (1808-60) in a minstrel show Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Jim-Crow
Historical Examples
  • The white train crew from the baggage car uses the "Jim-Crow" to lounge in and perform their toilet.

    Darkwater W. E. B. Du Bois
  • This is the meaning of the Southern movement for segregating the races, of its Jim-Crow car laws and waiting-rooms.

    The Ultimate Criminal Archibald H. Grimke
  • His Jim-Crow freight outfit didn't cut much of a figure in their track schedules.

    Held for Orders Frank H. Spearman
  • Accustomed to the Jim-Crow coach, the Pullman with its comfortable bed, its luxurious dining-car, was a revelation.

    The Shadow

    Mary White Ovington
  • The black social outcast wished "Jim-Crow" railway accommodations and signs proclaiming inequality of race to disappear.

  • Shall the black soldier hero be allowed to take his croix de guerre into a Jim-Crow car?

British Dictionary definitions for Jim-Crow

jim crow

/ˈdʒɪm ˈkrəʊ/
noun (often capitals) (US)
  1. the policy or practice of segregating Black people
  2. (as modifier): jim-crow laws
  1. a derogatory term for a Black person
  2. (as modifier): a jim-crow saloon
an implement for bending iron bars or rails
a crowbar fitted with a claw
Derived Forms
jim-crowism, noun
Word Origin
C19: from Jim Crow, name of song used as the basis of an act by Thomas Rice (1808–60), American entertainer
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 Jim-Crow

Jim Crow

"black person," 1838, American English, originally the name of a black minstrel character in a popular song-and-dance act by T.D. Rice (1808-1860) that debuted 1828 and attained national popularity by 1832:

Wheel about, an' turn about, an' do jis so;
Eb'ry time I wheel about, I jump Jim Crow.
Where and how Rice got it, or wrote it, is a mystery. Even before that, crow (n.) had been a derogatory term for a black man. Association with segregation dates from 1842, in reference to a railroad car for blacks. Modern use as a type of racial discrimination is from 1943. In mid-19c., Jim Crow also could be a reference to someone's change of (political) principles (from the "jump" in the song).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Jim-Crow in Culture

Jim Crow definition

A descriptive term for the segregation of institutions, businesses, hotels, restaurants, and the like. It also refers to the laws that required racial segregation.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for Jim-Crow

Jim Crow


: Jim Crow laws

noun phrase

  1. A black man; African-American (1828+)
  2. Segregation and discrimination against black people, and the laws and practices that accompany them: My first experience with Jim Crow/ Jim Crow killed Bessie Smith (1940s+)


: I would like to say that the people who Jim Crow me have a white heart

[fr a character in a minstrel-show song by T D Rice]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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