Word Origin & History
1727, from Fr. troubadour "one of a class of lyric poets in southern France, eastern Spain, and northern Italy 11c.-13c.," from O.Prov. trobador, from trobar "to find," earlier "invent a song, compose in verse," probably from V.L. *tropare "compose, sing," especially in the form of tropes, from L. tropus
"a song" (see trope
). The alternative theory among Fr. etymologists derives the O.Prov. word from a metathesis of L. turbare "to disturb," via a sense of "to turn up." Meanwhile, Arabists posit an origin in Arabic taraba "to sing." General sense of "one who composes or sings verses or ballads" first recorded 1826.