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

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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 There also were water shows, navy and agricultural exhibits, a carnival midway, and a parade through downtown Milwaukee that attracted as many as 250,000 people, despite the rain. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 July 2021 Festivities begin with a preview night, 6-11 p.m. July 29, when visitors can enjoy the carnival rides. Carol Kovach, cleveland, 12 July 2021 The remaining carnival rides re-opened on schedule at 11 a.m. Friday. al, 10 July 2021 Arnold Amusements, the company that runs the carnival rides, says on its website that the Magic Carpet takes people 50 feet into the air. Li Cohen, CBS News, 10 July 2021 Free entertainment includes daily pig races, a petting zoo, some contests (although the bean spitting contest has been eliminated), horse shows, carnival rides and attractions, food and exhibits. Annie Alleman,, 8 July 2021 The family day will include free school supplies, carnival rides, free Bumpboxx's, and even more surprises. Shelby Stewart, Chron, 7 July 2021 An Arizona man has been charged with human trafficking for allegedly holding Mexican workers hostage to staff his traveling carnival. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 July 2021 The state's agricultural bounty will be on display at the Niagara County Peach Festival from September 9-12, featuring carnival rides, contests, and of course, peaches. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 21 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The two cities are partnering to host a free, carnival-style holiday event at Lancaster’s Community Park. Destine Gibson, Dallas News, 30 June 2021 The carnival-style Platinum Jubilee Pageant will take place on Sunday, June 5, 2022, with more than 5,000 participants from across the Commonwealth. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, 29 June 2021 Many of the carnival-style rides were transported to Kings Island's Coney Mall area (then called Old Coney) when the park opened in 1972. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, 29 Apr. 2021 Funland has over a dozen carnival-style rides (mostly geared toward kids), games, an arcade, and more. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, 26 Apr. 2021 Operators at Race City, with a go-kart track, carnival-style rides and an arcade, said Spring Break traffic has been pretty good thus far. al, 15 Mar. 2021 The town’s entire Avenue of the Fountains will be closed down for the event, which features carnival-style booths, businesses along the avenue handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, and costume contests. Alison Stanton, The Arizona Republic, 13 Sep. 2020 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, 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, 7 Nov. 2019

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

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Carnival.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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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

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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