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

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Other Words from carol


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

Synonyms for carol

Synonyms: Noun

anthem, canticle, chorale, hymn, psalm, spiritual

Synonyms: Verb

chant, descant, sing, vocalize

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Examples of carol in a Sentence


We sang our favorite carols while we decorated the tree. sang carols at the Christmas Eve service


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

Willi embraced and celebrated his German heritage with German holiday ornaments and Christmas carols on Christmas Eve. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "German solider captured after the Battle of the Bulge remembered for living the American dream," 15 Aug. 2019 Half-Christmas should be celebrated by wearing ugly Christmas sweaters, drinking keg nog, singing Christmas carols to your neighbors, and barbecuing on your roof. Cady Lang, Time, "There's No Time Like Today to Give 'Half-Christmas' the Sitcom Holiday Appreciation It Deserves," 25 June 2019 There’s music in every paragraph of this story, the words as warmly pleasing as a holiday carol. Danny Heitman, WSJ, "An Ode to Holiday Companionship," 21 Dec. 2018 The performance of the carol by Austria’s Kroll Family Singers and ensembles from Trinity Church took place at the Alexander Hamilton memorial in the Trinity churchyard. Deepti Hajela, The Seattle Times, "200 years of ‘Silent Night’: Singers mark carol’s birthday," 28 Nov. 2018 Culture > TV & Movies There are those for whom the winter holidays mean carols and presents and cookies galore, but for the film industry, Christmas break tends to mean one thing: big box office. Vogue, "Here’s What You Want to See in Movie Theaters This Holiday," 24 Dec. 2018 There's just something about coordinated jammies that makes sipping on egg nog, opening gifts, and singing holiday carols that much more festive and enjoyable. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "19 Photos that Prove Matching Pajamas are The Secret to Eternal Happiness," 5 Oct. 2016 Lyrics will be projected on-screen for the carols so everyone can sing along, and attendees are also invited to share photos from past holiday sing-a-longs, which will be displayed in an on-screen slideshow during intermissions. Adam Lukach, RedEye Chicago, "Watch, sing along with 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'White Christmas' at Music Box Theatre," 1 Dec. 2017 During the peak of winter darkness [in mid December], choirs dressed in white, with candles in their hands, sing winter carols. Nina Sovich, WSJ, "Europe in Winter: 35 Reasons to Visit Off-Season," 21 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And obviously the movie starts with them caroling and cutting down the tree and bringing it to the house. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "We Can't Believe We Never Noticed This Weird Thing About 'Christmas Vacation'," 15 Dec. 2017 This 19th-century celebration of Christmas will feature storytelling, live performances by holiday characters, horsedrawn bobsled rides, caroling, food sampling and a visit with Santa. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Weekend guide: "The Nutcracker" opening, Dickens of a Day, holiday animation and more," 6 Dec. 2017 Celebrate the birth of a Brit Lit great with a brooding stroll across England’s moor country, or carol your way through a not-so-silent night in Austria’s Salzburg region this Christmas to celebrate 200 years of a world-famous hymn. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "Ten Major Anniversaries Worth Traveling For This Year," 30 Jan. 2018 If the temperature doesn't drop into the single digits, the party may continue in the form of caroling around a few neighborhoods. Liz Matthews, Town & Country, "Local Holiday Color," 19 Dec. 2013 Mr. Pintard, Mr. Goldstein said, was upset by the rowdy and boozy celebrations held around Christmas by farm hands indulging in caroling sessions. Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, "Santa’s a New Yorker. You Got a Problem With That?," 15 Dec. 2016 She and Kirsten met thirteen years ago, at the Christmas-carolling party of a mutual friend. Adam Davidson, The New Yorker, "The Prairie Wife," 13 Feb. 2017

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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Dictionary Entries near carol

carob brown

carob gum




Carol II


Statistics for carol

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for carol

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on carol

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carol

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for carol

Spanish Central: Translation of carol

Nglish: Translation of carol for Spanish Speakers

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

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recurring in steady succession

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