no·​el | \ nō-ˈel How to pronounce noel (audio) \

Definition of noel

1 : a Christmas carol The choir sang noels during the Christmas season.
2 capitalized : christmas wished his friends a joyous Noel

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Did You Know?

English speakers borrowed the word noel from French. It can be traced further back to the Latin word natalis, which can mean "birthday" as a noun or "of or relating to birth" as an adjective. (The English adjective natal has the same meaning and is also an offspring of natalis.). Noels were being sung in Latin or French for centuries before the word found its way into our language in the 1800s. The earliest known musical use of noel occurred in the text of a Christmas motet called "Nova vobis gaudia," which was written in the 1400s.

Examples of noel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The first noel, we're told, was to certain poor shepherds. The Washington Post,, "Why some families are boycotting presents this year -- and how they're doing it," 23 Dec. 2017 For you non-classicists, a bush de noel is a fake log made of chocolate cake rolled up with chocolate mousse frosting and then dotted with meringue mushrooms, which are the high priest of the Christmas cookie hierarchy. Drew Magary, GQ, "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire Are a Lie, and Other Holiday Food Facts," 19 Dec. 2017

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

First Known Use of noel

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for noel

French noël Christmas, carol, from Old French Nael (Deu), Noel Christmas, from Latin natalis birthday, from natalis natal

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Time Traveler for noel

The first known use of noel was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for noel


no·​el | \ nō-ˈel How to pronounce noel (audio) \

Kids Definition of noel

1 : a Christmas carol
2 capitalized : the Christmas season

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More from Merriam-Webster on noel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with noel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for noel

Spanish Central: Translation of noel

Nglish: Translation of noel for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about noel

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