Jim-Crow

or jim-crow

[jim-kroh]

Jim Crow

or jim crow

noun
  1. a practice or policy of segregating or discriminating against black people, as in public places, public vehicles, or employment.
  2. 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for jim-crow

Historical Examples of jim-crow

  • 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.


British Dictionary definitions for jim-crow

jim crow

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
  1. an implement for bending iron bars or rails
  2. a crowbar fitted with a claw
Derived Formsjim-crowism, noun

Word Origin for jim crow

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

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

jim-crow in Culture

Jim Crow

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.