Share this entry

Share this page


Line breaks: car¦ni|val
Pronunciation: /ˈkɑːnɪv(ə)l

Definition of carnival in English:


1An annual festival, 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 [mass noun]: 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.
festival, fiesta, fete, gala, jamboree, holiday, celebration, party;
parade, procession, march, tattoo
1.1A public event or celebration, typically held outdoors and involving stalls, entertainment, and processions: children from Wroughton are getting ready for the village 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 elements: the film is a visual and aural carnival
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 travelling funfair or circus: he worked at a carnival, climbing Ferris wheels and working 18-hour days
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.
funfair, circus, fair, amusement show, sideshows


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



Pronunciation: /-ˈlɛsk/
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:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?