[blak-uh-moo r]

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for blackamoor

Historical Examples of blackamoor

  • 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.


    Friedrich Maximilian von Klinger

  • He is a blackamoor, and derives his extraction from the spice lands.

    The Book of Christmas

    Thomas K. Hervey

British Dictionary definitions for blackamoor



archaic a Black African or other person with dark skin

Word Origin for blackamoor

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

Word Origin and History for blackamoor



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper