- the period of feasting and revelry just before Lent
- a reveling or time of revelry; festivity; merrymaking
- a time or place of excess, vitality, chaos, etc.
- a traveling commercial entertainment with sideshows, rides, games, etc.
- an organized program of festivities, contests, etc.: a winter sports carnival
Origin of carnivalfrom French carnaval (or Italian carnevale) from Medieval Latin carnelevarium from an unverified form carnem levare, to remove meat (see harvest and lever); associated, association by folk etymology with Medieval Latin carne vale, “Flesh, farewell!” from Classical Latin caro, flesh + vale: see valediction