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

Synonyms for carnival

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of carnival in a Sentence

Noun 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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tickets also may be used on carnival rides (two to five tickets each). Kari Barnett, Sun Sentinel, 21 Sep. 2022 Live music, dancing, carnival rides, kids' games, split-the-pot and more. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 18 Sep. 2022 In partnership with Goodr, the event provided more than 3,000 local children with music, games, carnival rides, food, backpacks, school supplies, and haircuts. Paul Grein, Billboard, 15 Sep. 2022 In partnership with Goodr, the event provided over 3,000 local children with music, games, carnival rides, food, backpacks, school supplies, and haircuts. Thania Garcia, Variety, 15 Sep. 2022 Visitors amble among carnival rides, petting zoos, and vegetable exhibits late into the night. The Atlantic, 10 Sep. 2022 The midway is loaded with commercial exhibits and carnival rides and attractions. Stefene Russell, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Sep. 2022 Activities for the 91st Romeo Peach Festival will include carnival rides, games, vendors, food, live music, a classic car show, parade and more. Brendel Hightower, Detroit Free Press, 2 Sep. 2022 As, all the while, the carnival barkers try to get someone to look their way. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 25 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Children’s Zoo encouraged youngsters to feed and pet the animals, but eliminated carnival-style gimmicks that were common in zoos at the time. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 July 2022 Whitestown's family-friendly Independence Day Celebration will kick off at 6 p.m. with live music, carnival-style food, a ticketed kid's zone and a fireworks show once the sun goes down. Chloe Mcgowan, The Indianapolis Star, 27 June 2022 The Queen is also expected to attend the Derby, one of her favorite horse race events, a concert at Buckingham Palace and the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, a carnival-style celebration during which many artists, including Ed Sheeran, will perform. Monique Jessen,, 12 May 2022 Collecting all the later drama in one city offers a chance to create a carnival-style event, a miniature tournament within a tournament, a defining climax to the European campaign. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2022 On top of brand booths for Venmo, Spotify, Hawkers, Erewhon, 818 Tequila, Onda, Daring Foods, Good American, Celsius, Zip and Pley Beauty, Revolve Festival also featured carnival-style swings and plenty of photo opps. Kirsten Chuba, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Apr. 2022 Maggie’s favorite was Abby’s Fairy Flight, a carnival-style swing ride that would be the perfect way to dry off after splashing around in the wave pool. Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2022 The post-carnival season is the organization's busiest time of year. Rebekah Castor, Fox News, 4 Mar. 2022 The area where the carnival-style attractions were kept was called Fiesta Island (a nod to the Fiesta San Antonio carnivals and maybe to its moated isolation). Paula Allen, San Antonio Express-News, 13 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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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The first known use of carnival was in 1549

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Carnival.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for carnival


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

More from Merriam-Webster on carnival

Nglish: Translation of carnival for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of carnival for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about carnival


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