A festival celebrated with merriment and revelry in Roman Gatholic nations throughout the few days before Lent esp at Rome and Naples during a few days three to ten before Lent closing with Shrove Tuesday
- a frenetic disorganized (and frequently comic) disruption suggestive of a large general public activity
- a traveling program; having sideshows and rides and games of skill an such like.
- a festival marked by merrymaking and processions
- A festival celebrated with merriment and revelry in Roman Gatholic countries during week before Lent, esp. at Rome and Naples, during several days (three to ten) before Lent, closing with Shrove Tuesday.
- Any merrymaking, feasting, or masquerading, particularly when overstepping the bounds of decorum; a time of riotous excess.
1540s, "time of merrymaking before Lent," from French carnaval, from Italian carnevale "Shrove Tuesday," from older Italian types such as Milanese *carnelevale, Old Pisan carnelevare "to get rid of animal meat," literally "raising flesh," from Latin caro "flesh" (see carnage) + levare "lighten, raise, remove" (see lever (letter.)). Folk etymology is from Medieval Latin carne vale " 'flesh, farewell!' " Meaning "a circus or reasonable" is attested by 1931 in united states.
Her border counties furnished the bogus citizens who invaded Kansas to carry the first territorial elections, and soon guerrilla forays back and forth gave over the border to a carnival of crime and plunder.