a traveling amusement show, having sideshows, rides, etc.
any merrymaking, revelry, or festival, as a program of sports or entertainment: a winter carnival.
the season immediately preceding Lent, often observed with merrymaking; Shrovetide.

1540–50; < Italian carnevale, Old Italian carnelevare taking meat away, equivalent to carne flesh (< Latin carnem, accusative of caro) + levare < Latin levāre to lift

carnivalesque, carnivallike, adjective
precarnival, adjective

2. fair, celebration, fete, holiday. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
carnival (ˈkɑːnɪvəl)
1.  a.  a festive occasion or period marked by merrymaking, processions, etc: esp in some Roman Catholic countries, the period just before Lent
 b.  (as modifier): a carnival atmosphere
2.  a travelling fair having merry-go-rounds, etc
3.  a show or display arranged as an amusement
4.  (Austral) a sports meeting
[C16: from Italian carnevale, from Old Italian carnelevare a removing of meat (referring to the Lenten fast)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1549, "time of merrymaking before Lent," from It. carnevale "Shrove Tuesday," from older It. forms like Milanese *carnelevale, O.Pisan carnelevare "to remove meat," lit. "raising flesh," from L. caro "flesh" + levare "lighten, raise;" folk etymology is from M.L. carne vale " 'flesh, farewell.' " Meaning
"a circus or fair" is 1931, N.Amer., as is the short form carny for "one who works at a carnival."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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