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 Think Mardi Gras — large, homemade costumes fashioned from paper and cardboard and adorned with sequins, worn by dancers beating drums and shaking cowbells during boisterous parades through the town, with costumes being judged along the parade route. Amy Bentley, Orange County Register, 29 May 2024 Families can also visit the Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture museum to see floats and costumes from previous parades. Kiratiana Freelon, Parents, 21 May 2024 Netflix's cameras were there to capture the moment with the OITNB, which came as part of a press tour for the company in conjunction with Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Maria Yagoda, Peoplemag, 10 May 2024 Travelers can also beat the scorching heat at one of the city’s many museums, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, The National World War II Museum, The Sazerac House, and the Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes & Culture. Lauren Dana Ellman, Travel + Leisure, 9 May 2024 In Vermont, downtown Burlington had a Mardi Gras vibe yesterday,as people packed the pedestrian mall. Maura Barrett, NBC News, 8 Apr. 2024 Nowadays, Moon Pies are tossed from floats during Mardi Gras. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 6 Apr. 2024 The attraction will culminate in a giant Mardi Gras musical celebration. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2024 Major Events Universal Orlando puts on three major annual events each year: Universal Mardi Gras, Halloween Horror Nights, and Holidays at Universal Orlando. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, 28 Mar. 2024

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 17 Jun. 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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