[ blak-uh-moor ]

  1. 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.

  2. Art. a stylized depiction of a Black servant in rich clothing, classical robes, or noble tribal costume, used as a decorative element in furniture, textiles, or jewelry, especially during the period of European colonialism.

Origin of blackamoor

First recorded in 1540–50; unexplained variant of phrase Black Moor

usage note For blackamoor

So-called blackamoors, or Black Moors, were Black servants, originally enslaved North Africans, who worked in wealthy European households from the 15th-18th centuries. 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.

Words Nearby blackamoor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use blackamoor in a sentence

  • Go anoint thy javelin with fat of swine, O blackamoor; for before morning the Romans will make thee eat it to the very butt.

    Caesar and Cleopatra | George Bernard Shaw
  • What had kept him so long, and why had he turned blackamoor?

    The Swiss Family Robinson | Johann David Wyss
  • Mercy upon me, what shall I do with a blackamoor and a dog both underfoot!

    The Puritan Twins | Lucy Fitch Perkins
  • The King rose, thrust aside the little blackamoor, and with his spaniel under his arm, sauntered across to Miss Stewart's table.

  • Hortense grew white to the lips and shouted for that lout of a blackamoor sound asleep on the sand.

    Heralds of Empire | Agnes C. Laut

British Dictionary definitions for blackamoor


/ (ˈblækəˌmʊə, -ˌmɔː) /

  1. archaic a Black African or other person with dark skin

Origin of 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