caroused; carousing

Definition of carouse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

obsolete : to drink up : quaff


ca·​rouse | \ kə-ˈrau̇z How to pronounce carouse (audio) \

Definition of carouse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a drunken revel
2 archaic : a large draft of liquor : toast

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from carouse


carouser noun

Synonyms for carouse

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?


Sixteenth-century English revelers toasting each other's health sometimes drank a brimming mug of spirits straight to the bottom-drinking "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"), and 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 mid-1500s, first as a noun (which later took on the sense of a general "drinking bout"), and then as a verb meaning "to drink freely."

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hanging out with these carefree kids—riding in cars with them, eating fast food with them, carousing at the moontower with them, watching the sun come up with them—is pretty close to hanging out with your own friends. Wired Staff, Wired, "The Movies and Shows to Rewatch When You Crave Normalcy," 10 May 2020 There’s also the matter of political conventions, the events that bring together thousands of party members for days of unity, rallying and carousing to be capped off with iconic images of balloons dropping on giddy delegates. Dionne Searcey, New York Times, "The Lessons of the Elections of 1918," 21 Mar. 2020 Artists were photographed wearing banker suits and smoking Montecristos, strove to be featured in ads for Absolut Vodka, caroused with real estate magnates and deep-pocketed promoters with unplaceable accents. Luc Sante, The New York Review of Books, "The Sweet Smell of Hipness," 24 Mar. 2020 For four hours each morning, Kokeubai says he and his fellow inmates were forced to watch videos of Xi carousing with dignitaries and overseeing military exercises. Charlie Campbell, Time, "The Coronavirus Outbreak Could Derail Xi Jinping’s Dreams of a Chinese Century," 6 Feb. 2020 Here are some of the best Thanksgiving Eve places to carouse or commune with visitors in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Ben Crandell,, "Your Thanksgiving Eve quandary solved: 15 places to take visitors in South Florida on Nov. 27," 25 Nov. 2019 Old Hollywood movie stars could easily be imagined carousing around the elegant swimming pool. Michael Kolomatsky, New York Times, "The Most Popular Listings of August," 19 Sep. 2019 Smith and his friend left the club shortly after 2 a.m. and were carousing outside when a group of people, including the suspects, confronted them. David Harris,, "Documents detail what led to fatal shooting outside Club Lit in downtown Orlando," 23 Aug. 2019 The document, which includes details from interviews with six women, offers a picture of Hill carousing during a party at a bar in the early morning hours of March 15, shortly after this year's legislative session came to a close. Bryan Slodysko,, "Multiple women, including lawmaker, come forward with groping allegations against Indiana AG," 6 July 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And for the adventure plot, there’s Luci, an equally diminutive demon, who encourages Bean to drink, carouse, and get into trouble. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "Netflix’s Disenchantment suggests the messy future of princess stories," 22 Aug. 2018 Similarly, Freedom Day inspires the hands on Mies Julie's isolated Karoo farm to carouse late into the night, but in a manner that seems singularly ominous. Justin Hayford, Chicago Reader, "Mies Julie depicts a postapartheid South Africa still mired in its legacy of colonialism and racism," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carouse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of carouse


1566, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1559, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for carouse


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about carouse

Time Traveler for carouse

Time Traveler

The first known use of carouse was in 1559

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about carouse

Statistics for carouse

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Carouse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for carouse



English Language Learners Definition of carouse

: to drink alcohol, make noise, and have fun with other people

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on carouse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for carouse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carouse

Spanish Central: Translation of carouse

Nglish: Translation of carouse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of carouse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on carouse

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!