car·​ni·​val | \ ˈkär-nə-vəl How to pronounce carnival (audio) \

Definition of carnival

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a season or festival of merrymaking before Lent
2a : an instance of merrymaking, feasting, or masquerading
b : an instance of riotous excess a carnival of violence
3a : a traveling enterprise offering amusements
b : an organized program of entertainment or exhibition : festival a winter carnival



Definition of carnival (Entry 2 of 2)

: suggestive of or suited to a carnival a carnival atmosphere carnival colors

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Synonyms for carnival

Synonyms: Noun

celebration, fest, festival, festivity, fete (or fête), fiesta, gala, jubilee

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Examples of carnival in a Sentence


the school's annual winter carnival That part of town is a carnival on Friday and Saturday nights. There is a carnival atmosphere in the office. The garden became a carnival of color.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Speaking of dates, Tayshia set up a carnival called Tayshialand. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "The Bachelor Season Premiere Recap: Did You Know Colton's a Virgin?," 7 Jan. 2019 The four-day festival includes a writing carnival outside the Franklin Institute, a soul-music dance party at the museum planetarium, a keynote talk, and a gospel breakfast. Grace Dickinson,, "Mighty Writers launches a festival of its own: MightyFest, coming this fall," 10 July 2018 The festival will have a carnival at the park which opens at 5 p.m. July 18-20 and noon July 21-22, plus fireworks on July 20-21. Bob Kostanczuk, Post-Tribune, "Festival of the Lakes salutes '90s music," 5 July 2018 The seven-day event comes with live music, an Arts & Crafts Village, a carnival midway, monster truck rides and car demolition demonstrations. Greg Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Plan your weekend: DSO's 'Salute to America,' Stars & Stripes fest, Bill Burr," 27 June 2018 Flags Magic Mountain Imagine a carnival ride bumped up to 11. Scott Craven, azcentral, "New this summer at Disneyland, Universal Studios and other SoCal theme parks," 7 June 2018 Her father owned a small carnival that toured the United States, according to Cabaret magazine. Kristine Phillips, Washington Post, "Meet Stormy, the exotic dancer (no, not that one) who embraced the power of getting naked," 7 June 2018 Minneapolis could have had a winter carnival for the last month. Dean Reynolds, CBS News, ""I think it's still winter": Spring feels delayed throughout much of the country," 28 Apr. 2018 Attendees enjoyed shopping, a car show, music, a carnival and food booths. Houston Chronicle, "Ole Tyme Days brings fun to Dayton," 22 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There will be carnival attractionsand inflatable bounce houses to keep them entertained for hours. Erica Boniface, The Know, "The best Colorado road races and fun runs of 2017," 4 Mar. 2017 Carnival-prize figurines from the first half of the 20th century line shelves that reach the ceiling. Gene Johnson, The Seattle Times, "At 75, Chihuly discusses his long struggles with mental health," 2 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carnival.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of carnival


1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1605, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for carnival


Italian carnevale, alteration of earlier carnelevare, literally, removal of meat, from carne flesh (from Latin carn-, caro) + levare to remove, from Latin, to raise

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Statistics for carnival

Last Updated

27 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for carnival

The first known use of carnival was in 1549

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More Definitions for carnival



English Language Learners Definition of carnival

: a festival held before Lent that includes music and dancing
: a form of entertainment that travels to different places and includes rides and games you can play to win prizes
: an event where many people gather to celebrate something


car·​ni·​val | \ ˈkär-nə-vəl How to pronounce carnival (audio) \

Kids Definition of carnival

1 : a form of entertainment that travels from town to town and includes rides and games
2 : an organized program of entertainment or exhibition : festival a winter carnival

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Comments on carnival

What made you want to look up carnival? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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