car·​ol | \ ˈker-əl How to pronounce carol (audio) , ˈka-rəl \

Definition of carol

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an old round dance with singing
2 : a song of joy or mirth the carol of a bird— Lord Byron
3 : a popular song or ballad of religious joy


caroled or carolled; caroling or carolling

Definition of carol (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Other Words from carol


caroler or caroller \ ˈker-​ə-​lər How to pronounce carol (audio) , ˈka-​rə-​ \ noun

Synonyms for carol

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of carol in a Sentence

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This English carol was first published in a collection of carols in 1430. Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, 20 Dec. 2021 The Duchess of Cambridge, 39, can't wait to welcome viewers to her upcoming Christmas carol concert. Simon Perry,, 17 Dec. 2021 The Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorus perform the Do-It-Yourself Messiah and lead a carol singalong. Annie Alleman,, 15 Nov. 2021 Earlier this month, Kate Middleton was spotted arriving at Westminster Abbey in London to film a mysterious Christmas carol concert. Liam Hess, Vogue, 25 Dec. 2021 Enjoying your holiday right now, without reference to the past or future, doesn’t make for such a nice carol. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 23 Dec. 2021 Vonne is joined by her sisters Angela, Elizabeth, Becca and Tina on the a capella carol. Jim Kiest, San Antonio Express-News, 24 Nov. 2021 Most recently, Kate hosted her first-ever Christmas carol concert at Westminster Abbey in tribute to the incredible work of individuals and organizations across the U.K. who have supported their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. Simon Perry,, 15 Dec. 2021 Earlier today, Kate Middleton and Prince William both attended a Christmas carol service at the Westminster Abbey in London. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 8 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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,, 4 Oct. 2019 The Cardiotonics — which means medicine for the heart — have been caroling at the Brigham for eight years., 26 Dec. 2019 Over at Snowmass, there will be caroling, a torchlight parade with fireworks and a Roaring 20s New Year’s Eve party in the base village. John Meyer, The Know, 22 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carol.' 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 carol


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

History and Etymology for carol


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

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

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Last Updated

5 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Carol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for carol



English Language Learners Definition of carol

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a song sung during the Christmas season



English Language Learners Definition of carol (Entry 2 of 2)

: to go from place to place singing Christmas carols


car·​ol | \ ˈker-əl How to pronounce carol (audio) \

Kids Definition of carol

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a usually religious song of joy


caroled or carolled; caroling or carolling

Kids Definition of carol (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to sing in a joyful manner
2 : to sing carols and especially Christmas carols

Other Words from carol

caroler or caroller noun

More from Merriam-Webster on carol

Nglish: Translation of carol for Spanish Speakers

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


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