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ca·​rouse kə-ˈrau̇z How to pronounce carouse (audio)
caroused; carousing

intransitive verb

: to drink liquor freely or excessively
: to take part in a carouse : engage in dissolute behavior

transitive verb

obsolete : to drink up : quaff
carouser noun


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: a drunken revel
archaic : a large draft of liquor

Did you know?

Sixteenth-century English revelers toasting each other's health sometimes drank a brimming mug of booze straight to the bottom—drinking an "all-out," they called it. German tipplers did the same and used the German expression for "all out"—gar aus. The French adopted the German term as carous, using the adverb in their expression boire carous ("to drink all out"). That phrase, with its idiomatic sense of "to empty the cup," led to carrousse, a French noun meaning "a large draft of liquor." And that's where English speakers picked up carouse in the 1500s, using it first as a direct borrowing of the French noun, which later took on the sense of a general "drunken revel," and then as a verb meaning "to drink freely." The verb later developed the "rowdy partying" use familiar to us today.

Examples of carouse in a Sentence

Verb My brother and his friends went out carousing last night. spent all of shore leave carousing with his mates Noun the Old West custom of heading to the saloon at night for an all-out carouse and some poker playing
Recent Examples on the Web
Grove went on to win 300 games and reach the Hall of Fame; Earnshaw tailed off as his night life of carousing took its toll. Mike Klingaman, Baltimore Sun, 14 May 2024 Old-timers recall a place with cheap housing and roadhouse bars, where the ski-season workers would carouse all night. Nick Bowlin, Harper's Magazine, 30 Mar. 2024 On the festival circuit, Manning Walker and her crew have become known for their commitment to carousing. Alex Barasch, The New Yorker, 3 Feb. 2024 Itaewon was spawned as a bawdy nightlife district adjacent to the U.S. military barracks, whose carousing GIs inevitably lent a reputation for sleaze and debauch. TIME, 26 Oct. 2023 And for a stint spent carousing through Ireland, Olivia Rodrigo coupled her easy brunette with a kittenish flick of liner—an unfailing day-to-night detail. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 21 Aug. 2023 Once, visitors like me would head straight to Hong Kong Island, working through its dim sum parlors and markets by day and carousing by night. Arati Menon, Condé Nast Traveler, 31 July 2023 Commuting, camping, conveying, cruising, carousing: With such a car, everyone feels ready for everything. Pete Lyons, Car and Driver, 11 Mar. 2023 This involves taking a trip to Paris and immersing himself in genealogical tomes in the Bibliothèque nationale, and then heading to Brest on the Atlantic coast to meet and carouse with the descendants of people whom Kerouac’s family knew centuries ago. Michael Washburn, National Review, 12 Mar. 2022

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

Word History



Middle French carrousse, from carous, adverb, all out (in boire carous to empty the cup), from German gar aus

First Known Use


1566, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1559, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of carouse was in 1559


Dictionary Entries Near carouse

Cite this Entry

“Carouse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a drunken merrymaking
carouse verb
carouser noun

More from Merriam-Webster on carouse

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