1727, from French troubadour (16c.) "one of a class of lyric poets in southern France, eastern Spain, and northern Italy 11c.-13c.," from Old Provençal trobador, from trobar "to find," earlier "invent a song, compose in verse," perhaps from Vulgar Latin *tropare "compose, sing," especially in the form of tropes, from Latin tropus "a song" (from PIE root *trep- "to turn"). The alternative theory among French etymologists derives the Old Provençal word from a metathesis of Latin 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.
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