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

The intimate tour will feature Christmas carols, photos with Santa and Christmas cookies. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "Chris Tomlin Announces 2019 Christmas Tour," 10 Sep. 2019 With Tom’s help, Kate begins to ditch her cynicism and embrace the spirit of the holidays, which includes singing carols in public, volunteering at a homeless shelter, skating under holiday lights, and kissing Henry Golding. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding in New "Last Christmas" Trailer Are Holiday Rom-Com Couple Goals," 14 Aug. 2019 On board, Santa Claus and his helpers stroll through the train cars singing carols and sharing holiday tales. Marlisse Cepeda, Country Living, "7 Christmas Train Rides That Will Make Your Holidays Merrier," 10 Sep. 2019 Inside, the Houston children’s choir sang carols on a curved staircase. Kashmir Hill, The New Yorker, "The Perils of Semi-Legal Poker," 8 Sep. 2019 While the movie is expected to have a serious note the trailer still teases moments of joy, like Kate singing Christmas carols to people in line at the homeless shelter. Time, "Festive Emilia Clarke Is Already Getting People in the Christmas Spirit," 14 Aug. 2019 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

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

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

Comments on carol

What made you want to look up carol? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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