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.
1540–50; unexplained variant of phrase black Moor
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.