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"merry-go-round," 1670s, earlier "playful tournament of knights in chariots or on horseback" (1640s), from French carrousel "a tilting match," from Italian carusiello, possibly from carro "chariot," from Latin carrus (see car).
A new and rare invencon knowne by the name of the royalle carousell or tournament being framed and contrived with such engines as will not only afford great pleasure to us and our nobility in the sight thereof, but sufficient instruction to all such ingenious young gentlemen as desire to learne the art of perfect horsemanshipp. [letter of 1673]