• (GA) IPA: /ˈkæɹnɪvəl/, /kɑɹnəˈvɑl/ (referring to specific festivals in various countries)

carnival (plural carnivals)

  1. Any of a number of festivals held just before the beginning of Lent.
    Carnival of Brazil
    Venice Carnival
  2. A festive occasion marked by parades and sometimes special foods and other entertainment.
  3. (US) A traveling amusement park, called a funfair in British English.
    We all got to ride the merry-go-round when they brought their carnival to town.
    When the carnival came to town, every one wanted some cotton candy.
Proper noun
  1. The season just before the beginning of the Western Christian season of Lent.


  1. Alternative form of carnival; especially in the sense "any of a number of festivals held just before the beginning of Lent."
    • 1873 April, R. H. Horne, The Great Fairs and Markets of Europe, John Holmes Agnew, Walter Hilliard Bidwell (editors), The Eclectic Magazine, New Series Volume 17: January—June 1873, page 436 ↗
      To the statement above we may, of course, add that a far greater number have never had the “luck” of seeing a Continental Fair;— the Carnivals of Italy, of France,—a Russian Fair,—or the Carnivals and Jahrmarkts of Germany.

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