Definition of burlesque in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌbərˈlesk/


1An absurd or comically exaggerated imitation of something, especially in a literary or dramatic work; a parody: the funniest burlesque of opera [as modifier]: burlesque Shakespearean stanzas
More example sentences
  • It was one of the earliest of English dramatic burlesques, and was much performed during the 18th cent., during which period the genre developed to one of its highest points in Sheridan's The Critic.
  • Mathews concocts burlesques and parodies of such rare excellence as to put one in mind of the broad literary japery of Terry Southern at his most inspired.
  • Translation of the sixth book of the Aeneid, in burlesque. - The burlesque came into fashion at that time.
parody, caricature, satire, lampoon, skit, farce;
sendup, takeoff, spoof;
striptease, strip
1.1Humor that depends on comic imitation and exaggeration; absurdity: the argument descends into burlesque
More example sentences
  • And his account of the singer's visit to China is a masterpiece of comic burlesque.
  • Abbott and Costello were among the most successful comics at making the transition from burlesque to film and radio.
  • If straight speaking and the didactic will not do, the ‘entertaining or engaging way’, must be sought through comic modes - caricature, burlesque, the free fall of fantasy.
2A variety show, typically including striptease: [as modifier]: burlesque clubs
More example sentences
  • Canned burlesque music announces the show, and three male dancers stride onstage.
  • My speech was scheduled immediately after the fab and very sexy Immodesty Blaize - a brilliant burlesque striptease artiste and extremely hard act to follow.
  • Rap beauty EVE, who once worked as a stripper before hitting musical success, plays a burlesque dancer in her advertisement.

verb (burlesques, burlesquing, burlesqued)

[with object]
Cause to appear absurd by parodying or copying in an exaggerated form: she struck a ridiculous pose that burlesqued her own vanity
More example sentences
  • Consider the number of jokes about Scots that burlesqued their stinginess.
  • But Haskell's narrator isn't burlesquing either Kuntry Kitchen or sun salutations performed on its floor.
  • To be an actor was literally to be consigned to hell, and the theater revenged this slight to its honor by burlesquing religion.



Pronunciation: /ˌbərˈleskər/
Example sentences
  • I was truly a burlesquer a time when it was becoming much more about anatomy, and very little about burlesque.
  • It seems that a common question that all burlesquers get asked is How do I get involved in Burlesque?
  • Corset-wearing burlesquers and ordinary folk alike should require no history lessons to understand.


Mid 17th century: from French, from Italian burlesco, from burla 'mockery', of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with burlesque

arabesque, Dantesque, desk, grotesque, humoresque, Junoesque, Kafkaesque, Moresque, picaresque, picturesque, plateresque, Pythonesque, Romanesque, sculpturesque, statuesque

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bur·lesque

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