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carnival

[kahr-nuh-vuh l] /ˈkɑr nə vəl/
noun
1.
a traveling amusement show, having sideshows, rides, etc.
2.
any merrymaking, revelry, or festival, as a program of sports or entertainment:
a winter carnival.
3.
the season immediately preceding Lent, often observed with merrymaking; Shrovetide.
Origin
1540-1550
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
Synonyms
2. fair, celebration, fete, holiday.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for precarnival

carnival

/ˈkɑːnɪvəl/
noun
1.
  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
2.
a travelling fair having merry-go-rounds, etc
3.
a show or display arranged as an amusement
4.
(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
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Word Origin and History for precarnival
carnival
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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