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[trav-uh-stee] /ˈtræv ə sti/
noun, plural travesties.
a literary or artistic burlesque of a serious work or subject, characterized by grotesque or ludicrous incongruity of style, treatment, or subject matter.
a literary or artistic composition so inferior in quality as to be merely a grotesque imitation of its model.
any grotesque or debased likeness or imitation:
a travesty of justice.
verb (used with object), travestied, travestying.
to make a travesty on; turn (a serious work or subject) to ridicule by burlesquing.
to imitate grotesquely or absurdly.
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 forms
untravestied, adjective
1. See burlesque. 3. mockery, perversion, sham, distortion. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for travesty
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Post communist societies are sick and their institutions are a travesty.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • I stretched my lips in that travesty of a smile I had seen the others use.

  • Though the proceedings had been a travesty of justice, they had been invested hitherto with a scenic stateliness.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
  • It long ago learned that marriage is a travesty and our marriage a nightmare.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • The composition seems to be intended as a satire on the monks, and in particular as a travesty of medieval hagiology.

British Dictionary definitions for travesty


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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