Definition of carnival in English:


Syllabification: car·ni·val
Pronunciation: /ˈkärnəvəl


1A period of public revelry at a regular time each year, typically during the week before Lent in Roman Catholic countries, involving processions, music, dancing, and the use of masquerade: the culmination of the week-long carnival Mardi Gras is the last day of carnival [as modifier]: a carnival parade
More example sentences
  • Unless there is more public support the annual carnival procession in Marlborough could disappear.
  • Devizes was alive with colour and music as the carnival procession wound its way through the town on Saturday.
  • Each year the carnival procession parades through the centre of Calne starting from the Porte Marsh Industrial Estate.
1.1A public event or celebration, typically held outdoors and offering entertainment and exhibitions: he helped judge the ice-sculpture contest at the college’s winter carnival
More example sentences
  • The branch ran two stalls at the local carnival, raising about £400 for funds.
  • On the carnival yours truly has a modest little stall.
  • Having flexible hours enables her to attend the odd school carnival.
1.2An exciting or riotous mixture of something: the whole evening was a carnival of fun
More example sentences
  • One of the more exciting developments in weblogging has been the proliferation of carnivals.
  • Here, the web of linguistic and visual signs returns the viewer to the terrain of the carnival.
  • But there is no comfort in a continuously constructed carnival of bands and opera singers.
2North American A traveling amusement show or circus.
More example sentences
  • As a result, Truzzi was intrigued by magic, juggling, sideshows, carnivals, and circuses.
  • In the back of the book was a section about the foods invented at fairs, circuses and carnivals.
  • Zoos have been around for hundreds of years, the first ones being like freak shows attached to carnivals and circuses.
fair, amusement park, fun fair, amusement show, circus, big top, midway


mid 16th century: from Italian carnevale, carnovale, from medieval Latin carnelevamen, carnelevarium 'Shrovetide', from Latin caro, carn- 'flesh' + levare 'put away'.



Pronunciation: /ˌkärnəvəˈlesk/
More example sentences
  • In one carnivalesque scene the peasants return to their abandoned village to find their clothes piled up, sorted by colour; they throw them orgiastically into the air, choosing what they will - their collective property.
  • Bodily transformations, plastic surgery, mutation and cloning are some of the themes choreographer/dancer Carole Courtois touches upon in her carnivalesque production Vacuum.
  • Never since has there been a more gorgeous depiction of Rome in all its carnivalesque glory, even though at the time it was unusual to shoot an entire production on location.

Definition of carnival in: