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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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Children rode on parents’ shoulders, air horns lent a carnival air and taxis raced around the capital, Taipei, flying candidates’ flags out of their windows. The Economist, "Banyan Even in death, Lee Teng-hui is helping shape Taiwan’s identity," 5 Aug. 2020 In London, where the restaurants are open but still viewed suspiciously, like pop-up carnival rides, why not take a bottle of wine and some wipes to a patch of grass instead? Anna Russell, The New Yorker, "The Laughing-Gas Wars of London," 4 Aug. 2020 Playing when Victor and Felix head out to the carnival. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "The "Love, Victor" Soundtrack Is Everything You Needed In Life and More," 19 June 2020 Danny Huston, owner of North American Midway Entertainment, which will be running the rides at the fair, said that there will be fewer carnival games than normal this year because of the pandemic. Anne Snabes, The Indianapolis Star, "The Marion County Fair is back July 11-19 — with some COVID-19 safety precautions," 26 June 2019 The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo puts Houston on the map with a massive scholarship program, scrumptious carnival food, great concert lineups, and an amazing display of artwork from talented young artists across the city. Sonia Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "It's 713 Day in H-Town, so let's celebrate a few things that Houston is known for," 13 July 2020 Another vehicle heading to the carnival with them, a pickup carrying 11 passengers, was in front of the Taurus. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, The Indianapolis Star, "‘Enjoying life to the fullest.’ IU cheerleader, Luke Recker’s ex-girlfriend deals with paralysis," 9 July 2020 Projects have sprouted in 65 countries, ranging from a wildlife-appreciation carnival in Taipei, Taiwan, to an insect oasis in Munich, Germany. Washington Post, "Jane Goodall became a champion for chimpanzees. It started with a 10-year-old’s dream.," 6 July 2020 No food trucks, live music or carnival rides for the kids. John Maccormack,, "Scouts and volunteers give Schertz a patriotic lift — 3 miles of flags," 3 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Enjoy drive-thru barbecue and carnival-style concessions prior to the first big fireworks display of the holiday weekend, which will be viewable from the fairgrounds parking lot. cleveland, "Fourth of July 2020 in Cleveland: Fireworks, food, music and more ways to celebrate Independence Day weekend," 30 June 2020 For now, the at times festive and carnival nature of the Iraqi and Lebanese protests mask nervous fears on the streets that Iran would deploy its local militias to put an end to the protests. Bessma Momani, Time, "A New Arab Spring Is Unfolding in Iraq and Lebanon. But Things Could Get Bloody If Iran Gets Its Way," 7 Nov. 2019 Unlike most carnival celebrations throughout the Caribbean, J’ouvert does not take place in the streets of Toronto for Caribana 2019. Anquanette Gaspard, Essence, "Tell Dem We Reach! A First-Timer’s Guide to Caribana, Toronto's Caribbean Carnival," 24 July 2019 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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Time Traveler for carnival

Time Traveler

The first known use of carnival was in 1549

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Statistics for carnival

Last Updated

9 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Carnival.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for carnival


How to pronounce carnival (audio)

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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