carol

1 of 2

noun

car·​ol ˈker-əl How to pronounce carol (audio)
ˈka-rəl
1
: an old round dance with singing
2
: a song of joy or mirth
the carol of a birdLord Byron
3
: a popular song or ballad of religious joy

carol

2 of 2

verb

caroled or carolled; caroling or carolling

intransitive verb

1
: to sing especially in a joyful manner
2
: to sing carols
specifically : to go about outdoors in a group singing Christmas carols

transitive verb

1
: to praise in or as if in song
2
: to sing especially in a cheerful manner : warble
caroler noun
or caroller
ˈker-ə-lər How to pronounce carol (audio)
ˈka-rə-

Example Sentences

Noun We sang our favorite carols while we decorated the tree. sang carols at the Christmas Eve service Verb Last night, we went caroling with our friends. she caroled with glee when she heard the good news
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The modern carol topped the chart for a week in the 2020 holiday season and for three weeks over last year’s holidays. Gary Trust, Billboard, 5 Dec. 2022 Last December, Princess Kate also planted a wild cherry tree in Dean's Yard at Westminster Abbey ahead of her carol concert. Simon Perry, Peoplemag, 2 Apr. 2023 Today's event, which marks the second year in a row that the Princess of Wales has hosted a community holiday carol service at Westminster Abbey, plans to pay homage to the late Queen Elizabeth II, who died at 96 years old this past September. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 15 Dec. 2022 The modern carol holds for a 10th total week at No. 1 on the former and rebounds for a fifth week atop the latter, dating to the lists’ starts two years ago. Gary Trust, Billboard, 12 Dec. 2022 There is no reference to Christmas in the carol, which Anschütz based on a much older Silesian folk love song. Troy Bickham, Chron, 24 Dec. 2022 Visitors will find boisterous carol music blaring in different languages at various stores, on public transportation and in the long lines at restaurants and supermarkets. CNN, 3 Dec. 2022 What carol is heard in the desert? Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 10 Nov. 2022 The spirit is there, but it’s muted, like a carol heard in the distance. Carl Nolte, SFChronicle.com, 19 Dec. 2020
Verb
People travel to houses across their communities in Bristol Bay to carol and spin large wooden stars decorated with tinsel and pictures of saints. Isabelle Ross, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Jan. 2023 Perhaps there was a way to carol less aggressively. Jules Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Dec. 2021 Many people carol during the holidays about receiving a partridge in a pear tree from their true love. Los Angeles Times, 6 Dec. 2020 Nuns have gone caroling; gospel choirs have video-harmonized. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 9 Apr. 2020 Guests were offered a variety of holiday activities from caroling and face painting, to Cy-Fair ISD choir performances and hot cocoa courtesy of Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee & Bakery. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, 5 Dec. 2019 Windsor Castle is open to visitors for tours during the Christmas season as well as a variety of events, from caroling to arts-and-crafts—just like Queen Victoria would have done! Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, 3 Dec. 2019 This December, Kwiecinski will oversee the latest installment of the 12 Days of Grizmas, an extended pre-Christmas celebration in downtown Detroit that includes concerts, yoga classes, caroling, and a roller disco party. Allison Stewart, chicagotribune.com, 4 Oct. 2019 The Cardiotonics — which means medicine for the heart — have been caroling at the Brigham for eight years. BostonGlobe.com, 26 Dec. 2019 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English carole, from Anglo-French, modification of Late Latin choraula choral song, from Latin, choral accompanist, from Greek choraulēs, from choros chorus + aulein to play a reed instrument, from aulos, a reed instrument — more at alveolus

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of carol was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near carol

Cite this Entry

“Carol.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/carol. Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

carol

1 of 2 noun
car·​ol ˈkar-əl How to pronounce carol (audio)
: a usually religious song of joy

carol

2 of 2 verb
caroled or carolled; caroling or carolling
1
: to sing especially in a joyful manner
2
: to sing carols and especially Christmas carols
caroler noun
or caroller

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