Definition of travesty in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtravɪsti/

noun (plural travesties)

A false, absurd, or distorted representation of something: the absurdly lenient sentence is a travesty of justice
More example sentences
  • The participants are adults, they know what they are in for and if it is a travesty of human dignity, it is a victimless travesty because they want to do it and we want to watch it.
  • What eventually took its place was a travesty of the real thing, a mockery of the power that could raise men to heaven and give them the glimpse of God for which they gladly died.
  • The second lesson must be that we need to understand that blaming the residents of Sighthill for the events of the past week is simply misguided and a travesty of the truth.
misrepresentation, distortion, perversion, corruption, poor imitation, poor substitute, mockery, parody, caricature;
farce, charade, pantomime, sham;
apology for, excuse for

verb (travesties, travestying, travestied)

[with object]
Represent in a false, absurd, or distorted way: Michael has betrayed the family by travestying them in his plays
More example sentences
  • Still, if the only way you can sell - I mean, with free seating, give away - the classics is by travestying them, why bother?
  • I wish you had come a couple of days earlier and seen a concert performance they gave us, travestying the coaches.
  • The film adds up to some interesting although unrevealing character studies of mostly invisible lives, lives that travestied the deep convictions and moral anguish of so many Americans during the 1960s.
misrepresent, parody, caricature, burlesque, mock, make a mockery of, ridicule, make fun of;
distort, pervert


Mid 17th century (as an adjective in the sense 'dressed to appear ridiculous'): from French travesti 'disguised', past participle of travestir, from Italian travestire, from trans- 'across' + vestire 'clothe'.

  • Both travesty and transvestite go back to Latin trans ‘across’ and vestire ‘to clothe’, and in the theatre a travesty role is still one designed to be played by a cross-dressing performer. The earliest use of travesty, which came through French travesti, ‘disguised’, was ‘dressed to appear ridiculous’. The usual modern sense, ‘a false or absurd representation of something’, developed from the word's application to literary parodies and burlesques. Academic interest in sexuality developed in Germany and Austria in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the immediate source of transvestite, recorded from the 1920s, was German Transvestit. See also invest

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: trav|esty

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