car·​ny ˈkär-nē How to pronounce carny (audio)
variants or carney or carnie
plural carnies or carneys
often attributive
: a person who works with a carnival

Examples of carny in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web McGee’s Southern voice is boyish and boisterous as befits the carny atmosphere of the minors and his own youthful excitement at playing a part behind the scenes at a storied ballpark. Katherine A. Powers, Washington Post, 25 May 2023 The carny can use a hidden switch to force the balls to bounce out of the basket. WIRED, 23 Jan. 2023 Jack, wearing those weird split color carny pants playing his acoustic through an octave pedal and fuzz to get that earworm Troggs/Monks bass sound and Meg’s cold disaffection and certainly icky thump on her kick drum pounding my skull into oblivion. Ron Hart, SPIN, 1 Apr. 2023 Based on the 1946 William Lindsay Gresham noir novel, del Toro's dark and mind-bending psychological thriller casts Bradley Cooper as a traveling carny and con man with a predilection for manipulating people who partners with an equally ruthless psychiatrist (Blanchett). Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 2 Nov. 2021 The carny rolled into Santa Monica on Wednesday. Los Angeles Times, 2 Sep. 2021 In the current production, Corey Hawkins’s Lincoln is lean, hungry, and watchful, his Abe costume all but hanging off him, his body attuned more to the sharp turns of his escalating rivalry with his brother than to the meta-theater of his carny gig. Rob Weinert-Kendt, Vulture, 20 Oct. 2022 Why did the carny let the sucker win the giant teddy bear? WIRED, 23 Jan. 2023 Combining old-fashioned practicality with the shameless hustle of a sideshow carny and driven by a narcissistic thirst for attention, Davis, who patented the body armor in the early 1970s, certainly makes for a timely protagonist. Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'carny.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1933, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of carny was circa 1933

Dictionary Entries Near carny

Cite this Entry

“Carny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!