Mardi Gras


Mar·​di Gras ˈmär-dē-ˌgrä How to pronounce Mardi Gras (audio)
 in New Orleans commonly  -ˌgrȯ
: Shrove Tuesday often observed (as in New Orleans) with parades and festivities
: a carnival period climaxing on Shrove Tuesday
: a festive occasion resembling a pre-Lenten Mardi Gras

Examples of Mardi Gras in a Sentence

We're going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. It was a Mardi Gras to remember!
Recent Examples on the Web For petal peepers like me, this was the Super Bowl, Christmas morning and Mardi Gras rolled into one long vibrant season. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 24 Feb. 2024 The Alabama city celebrated America's first Mardi Gras in 1703. Grace Tucker, The Enquirer, 23 Feb. 2024 While Mardi Gras World isn’t exactly a secret, the attraction’s behind-the-scenes tours of parade float-making are special. Lanee Lee, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 At a Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, three men tossed around what looked like a football — but was a baby pig, according to a bystander. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 21 Feb. 2024 Before more than a million people could swarm the streets of New Orleans for Mardi Gras, a group of wildlife officials patrolled the streets for potentially dangerous creatures. Irene Wright, Miami Herald, 16 Feb. 2024 Welcome to Mardi Gras Unmasked, a multi-part series exploring the cultures beneath the culture of New Orleans and Mardi Gras, curating wine celebrates the artistic, musical, and culinary heritage of The Big Easy and – most importantly – the people that keep the culture alive. Rolling Stone, 16 Feb. 2024 Most Mardi Gras festivities around the nation have already taken place — after all, Fat Tuesday was Feb. 13 — but Kansas City will celebrate Feb. 17. Dan Kelly, Kansas City Star, 15 Feb. 2024 The lively brass sounds of New Orleans filled the air as revelers celebrated Mardi Gras on a chilly Fat Tuesday evening in downtown Oakland. Jane Tyska, The Mercury News, 14 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Mardi Gras.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, literally, fat Tuesday

First Known Use

1699, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of Mardi Gras was in 1699

Dictionary Entries Near Mardi Gras

Cite this Entry

“Mardi Gras.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

Mardi Gras

Mar·​di Gras ˈmärd-ē-ˌgrä How to pronounce Mardi Gras (audio)
: the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday often observed with parades and merrymaking

French, literally "fat Tuesday"

Word Origin
The Christian period of fasting known as Lent begins every year on Ash Wednesday. The day before Lent begins is a time of celebration and feasting in many places. One of the original reasons for such feasting was probably to use up the last supplies of foods, such as meat and fat, which were not eaten during Lent. The eating of such foods may be why the day became known in France as Mardi Gras, which means "fat Tuesday." It is also possible that the name comes from a former custom of parading a fattened ox through Paris on this day.

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