September 04, 2011
- carnival (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : a season or festival of merrymaking before Lent2 : a noisy merrymaking3 a : a traveling group that puts on a variety of amusements b : a program of entertainment
- How do you use it?
- "When you're planning to go to the carnival after school, the clocks in every class practically run backward, and the school day lasts for about three weeks. But if you have to go to the barber or go shopping for clothes after school, zzzzip-the whole day is over before you can blink." (Andrew Clements, Frindle)
- Are you a word wiz?
When we think "carnival" we think celebration and entertainment, but the Latin parents of the term aren't so upbeat. What do you think those root words mean?English adapted "carnival" from the Italian "carnivale," which comes from the Latin noun "carn-," meaning "flesh," and the verb "levare," which means "to remove." Although it's now associated with high-spirited celebration, "carnival" originally signaled the approach of Lent, a time of fasting when the eating of meat, or "flesh," was forbidden. The first carnival was held in Rome when the Christian Church permitted people to hold festivities at about the same time that the feast of Saturnalia had been celebrated in pagan times. Most modern pre-Lenten carnivals last about a week, but they once lasted for a month or more.