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noun, plural trav·es·ties.
  1. a grotesque or debased likeness or imitation: a travesty of justice.
  2. a literary or artistic burlesque of a serious work or subject, characterized by grotesque or ludicrous incongruity of style, treatment, or subject matter.
  3. a literary or artistic composition so inferior in quality as to be merely a grotesque imitation of its model.
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verb (used with object), trav·es·tied, trav·es·ty·ing.
  1. to make a travesty on; turn (a serious work or subject) to ridicule by burlesquing.
  2. to imitate grotesquely or absurdly.
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Origin of travesty

1655–65; < French travesti, past participle of travestir “to disguise” < Italian travestire, equivalent to tra- (< Latin trāns- trans-) + vestire “to clothe” < Latin vestīre; see vest
Related formsun·trav·es·tied, adjective

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2. See burlesque.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for travesty

exaggeration, farce, mockery, perversion, satire, distortion, burlesque, sham, play, caricature, lampoon, roast, takeoff, put-on, mimicry, mock, parody, imitate, satirize, distort

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British Dictionary definitions for travesty


noun plural -ties
  1. a farcical or grotesque imitation; mockery; parody
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verb -ties, -tying or -tied
  1. (tr) to make or be a travesty of
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Word Origin for travesty

C17: from French travesti disguised, from travestir to disguise, from Italian travestire, from tra- trans- + vestire to clothe
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 travesty


1670s, from adjective meaning "dressed so as to be made ridiculous, parodied, burlesqued" (c.1660s), from French travesti "dressed in disguise," past participle of travestir "to disguise" (1590s), from Italian travestire "to disguise," from Latin trans- "over" (see trans-) + vestire "to clothe" (see wear (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper