9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kahr-nuh-vuh l] /ˈkɑr nə vəl/
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.
Origin of carnival
1540-50; < Italian carnevale, Old Italian carnelevare taking meat away, equivalent to carne flesh (< Latin carnem, accusative of caro) + levare < Latin levāre to lift
Related forms
carnivalesque, carnivallike, adjective
precarnival, adjective
2. fair, celebration, fete, holiday. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for carnival
  • It's a celebration or carnival to mark the end of winter.
  • Soon cowboys herd the ponies through town to the carnival grounds.
  • Thanks for submitting this post to our blog carnival.
  • But the event already has the grisly carnival atmosphere of a public execution.
  • There's a carnival atmosphere here, a carnival for nerds.
  • The atmosphere at the event is more carnival than campaign rally.
  • Though state fairs sprang up as agricultural and educational venues, carnival rides are now must-haves.
  • For a full list of past carnival roundups and the hosts thoughts on the entries you can find them here.
  • Wandering musicians and mimes bring a carnival spirit.
  • It was as if a carnival midway had been reconceived by radically libidinous techno-artists.
British Dictionary definitions for carnival


  1. a festive occasion or period marked by merrymaking, processions, etc: esp in some Roman Catholic countries, the period just before Lent
  2. (as modifier): a carnival atmosphere
a travelling fair having merry-go-rounds, etc
a show or display arranged as an amusement
(Austral) a sports meeting
Word Origin
C16: from Italian carnevale, from Old Italian carnelevare a removing of meat (referring to the Lenten fast)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for carnival

1540s, "time of merrymaking before Lent," from French carnaval, from Italian carnevale "Shrove Tuesday," from older Italian forms such as Milanese *carnelevale, Old Pisan carnelevare "to remove meat," literally "raising flesh," from Latin caro "flesh" (see carnage) + levare "lighten, raise, remove" (see lever (n.)). Folk etymology is from Medieval Latin carne vale " 'flesh, farewell!' " Meaning "a circus or fair" is attested by 1931 in North America.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for carnival

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for carnival

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with carnival

Nearby words for carnival