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From French travesti (disguised, burlesqued), past participle of travestir (to disguise), borrowed from Italian travestire (to dress up, disguise), from tra- (across) +‎ vestire (to dress), from Latin vestiō (to clothe, dress), from Proto-Italic *westis (clothing), from Proto-Indo-European *wéstis (dressing) from verbal root *wes- (to dress, clothe); cognate to English wear. Doublet of transvest.


  • enPR: trăvʹĭs-tē, trăvʹəs-tē, IPA(key): /ˈtɹæv.ɪs.ti/, /ˈtɹæv.əs.ti/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: trav‧es‧ty


travesty (plural travesties)

  1. An absurd or grotesque misrepresentation.
    • 1845, Thomas De Quincey, William Godwin
      The second edition is not a recast, but absolutely a travesty of the first.
    • 2022 January 12, Dr. Joseph Brennan, “Castles: ruined and redeemed by rail”, in RAIL, number 948, page 56:
      In 1844, objection was raised to the Furness Railway's Dalton & Barrow line, when it was revealed that the line would pass directly through Furness Abbey. A re-route was achieved, with the line skirting the abbey ruins instead - although many continued to see the intrusion as a travesty against antiquity and the scenic beauty of the site.
  2. A parody or stylistic imitation.
  3. (derogatory) A grossly inferior imitation.
    A battlefield trial is a travesty of justice.
  4. (colloquial, proscribed) An appalling version of something.
    • 2018 February 10, Phil McNulty, “Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 0 Arsenal”, in BBC[1]:
      Spurs survived the scare - and such was their domination after the break that it would have been a travesty had Arsenal escaped Wembley, hosting a Premier League record attendance of 83,222, with a draw.



Related terms[edit]



travesty (third-person singular simple present travesties, present participle travestying, simple past and past participle travestied)

  1. (transitive) To make a travesty of; to parody.

Further reading[edit]