From Middle English carole, from Old French carole, from Old Italian carola, from Medieval Latin choraula, a variant of choraulēs (“flute player accompanying a chorus dance”), from Ancient Greek χοραυλής (khoraulḗs, “one who accompanies a chorus on the flute”), from χορός (khorós, “choir; dance”) (possibly from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰer- (“to enclose”) or *ǵʰoros) + αὐλός (aulós, “flute”) (from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ewlos (“tube”)). Compare chorus, terpsichorean.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈkæɹəl/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈkæɹəl/
Audio (AU) (file)
- Rhymes: -æɹəl
- Hyphenation: car‧ol
carol (plural carols)
- (historical) A round dance accompanied by singing.
- 2010, Stephen Medcalf, “On Reading Books from a Half-alien Culture”, in Brian Cummings and Gabriel Josipovici, editors, The Spirit of England: Selected Essays of Stephen Medcalf, Abingdon, Oxon.; New York, N.Y.: Legenda, Modern Humanities Research Association and Routledge, →ISBN, page 87:
- The carol, a combination of dance, music and song performed by a group, has a parallel history [to the mystery plays]. Although it existed earlier as a secular form – the round dance of which St Hugh's biographer was reminded by the shafts at Lincoln – it seems to have been turned to pious uses from about 1350.
- A ballad or song of joy.
- c. 1595–1596, William Shakespeare, A Midsommer Nights Dreame. […] (First Quarto), London: […] [Richard Bradock] for Thomas Fisher, […], published 1600, OCLC 1041029189, [Act II, scene i]:
- The humane mortals want their winter heere / No night is now with hymme or carroll bleſt; / Therefore the Moone (the gouerneſſe of floods) / Pale in her anger, waſhes all the aire; / That Rheumaticke diſeaſes do abound.
- 1700, [John] Dryden, “Palamon and Arcite: Or, The Knight’s Tale. In Three Books.”, in Fables Ancient and Modern; […], London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 228732415, book II, pages 42–43:
- Oppos'd to her, on t' other Side, advance / The coſtly Feaſt, the Carol, and the Dance, / Minſtrels, Muſick, Poetry, and Play, / And Balls by Night, and Turnaments by Day.
- 1908 October, Kenneth Grahame, “The River Bank”, in The Wind in the Willows, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, OCLC 305520, page 2:
- The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout.
- (specifically) A (usually traditional) religious or secular song sung at Christmastime.
- They sang a Christmas carol.
- 1632, Randle Cotgrave; Robert Sherwood, “Carolle”, in A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues. Compiled by Randle Cotgrave. Wherevnto is also Annexed a Most Copious Dictionarie, of the English Set before the French. By R[obert] S[herwood,] L[ondoner], London: Printed by Adam Islip, OCLC 954942797:
- Carolle: f[eminine]. A kind of daunce wherein many daunce together; alſo, a Carroll, or Chriſtmas ſong.
- 1827, [John Keble], “Christmas Day”, in The Christian Year: Thoughts in Verse for the Sundays and Holydays throughout the Year, volume I, Oxford, Oxfordshire: […] J. Parker; and C[harles] and J[ohn] Rivington, […], OCLC 1029642537, page 29:
- Think on th' eternal home, / The Saviour left for you; / Think on the Lord most holy, come / To dwell with hearts untrue: / So shall ye tread untir'd his pastoral ways, / And in the darkness sing your carol of high praise.
- 1843 December 19, Charles Dickens, “Stave I. Marley’s Ghost.”, in A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, London: Chapman & Hall, […], OCLC 55746801, pages 16–17:
- Foggier yet, and colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold. If the good Saint Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit's nose with a touch of such weather as that, instead of using his familiar weapons, then indeed he would have roared to lusty purpose. The owner of one scant young nose, gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs, stooped down at Scrooge's keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol: but at the first sound of— / "God bless you merry gentleman! / May nothing you dismay!" / Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action, that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost.
- 1863 December 25, Henry W[adsworth] Longfellow, “Christmas Bells”, in J[ohn] T[ownsend] Trowbridge, Gail Hamilton [pseudonym; Mary Abigail Dodge], and Lucy Larcom, editors, Our Young Folks. An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls, volume I, number II, Boston, Mass.: Ticknow and Fields, 124 Tremont Street, published February 1865, OCLC 41110873, page 123:
- I heard the bells on Christmas Day / Their old, familiar carols play, / And wild and sweet / The words repeat / Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
- 1945, Mel Tormé and Bob Wells (lyrics), Mel Tormé (music), “The Christmas Song: Merry Christmas to You: S.A.T.B. with Incidental Soprano Solos and Piano Accompaniment”, New York, N.Y.: E. H. Morris, published 1946, OCLC 38019191:
- Chestnuts roasting on an open fire / Jack Frost nipping at your nose / Yuletide carols being sung by a choir / And folks dressed up like Eskimos
- 2015 December 21, Gary Trust, “Carey’s 1994 Classic Reaches a New Peak (No. 18) while Continuing atop the Holiday 100 Chart”, in Billboard, archived from the original on 20 November 2017:
- (intransitive, historical) To participate in a carol (a round dance accompanied by singing).
- 1990, Christopher Page, “Jeunesse and the Courtly Song Repertory”, in The Owl and the Nightingale: Musical Life and Ideas in France 1100–1300, 1st U.S. edition, Berkeley; Los Angeles, Calif.: University of California Press, →ISBN, page 91:
- You might see the townsmen and the ladies carolling in the squares, squires and serjans and young girls singing; there is no street and no house to be found there that is not adorned with hangings of gold and silk.
- (intransitive) To sing in a joyful manner.
- 1579, Immeritô [pseudonym; Edmund Spenser], “October. Aegloga Decima.”, in The Shepheardes Calender: […], London: […] Hugh Singleton, […], OCLC 606515406; republished as The Shepheardes Calender […], London: […] Iohn Wolfe for Iohn Harrison the yonger, […], 1586, OCLC 837880809, folio 41, recto:
- And when the ſtubborne ſtroke of ſtronger ſtounds, / Has ſomewhat ſlackt the tenor of thy ſtring; / Of loue and luſtihead tho maiſt thou ſing, / And carroll lowde, and leade the Millers rounde, [...]
- 1766 April, The London Magazine. Or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, volume XXXV, London: Printed for R. Baldwin at the Rose, in Pater-noster Row, OCLC 657101761, page 207, column 2:
- As the lark with vary'd tune, / Carrols to the evening loud; / Mark the mild reſplendent moon, / Breaking through a parted cloud!
- 1771, James Beattie, The Minstrel; or, The Progress of Genius. A Poem. Book the First, 2nd edition, London: […] Edward and Charles Dilly, […]; Edinburgh: A[lexander] Kincaid and W[illiam] Creech; and J[ohn] Bell, […], OCLC 752801478, stanza VII, page 4:
- Riſe, ſons of harmony, and hail the morn, / While warbling larks on ruſſet pinions float; / Or ſeek at noon the woodland ſcene remote, / Where the grey linnets carol from the hill.
- 1859, [Peter Christen Asbjørnsen; Jørgen Engebretsen Moe]; George Webbe Dasent, transl., “The Mastermaid”, in Popular Tales from the Norse [...] With an Introductory Essay on the Origin and Diffusion of Popular Tales, 2nd enlarged edition, Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, OCLC 751631808, pages 81–82:
- "Sure enough, it is an easy master I have got," said the Prince to himself, as he walked up and down the room, and carolled and sang, for he thought there was plenty of time to clean out the stable.
- 1958, Anthony Burgess, The Enemy in the Blanket, London: William Heinemann, OCLC 484060826; republished in The Malayan Trilogy: Time for a Tiger; The Enemy in the Blanket; Beds in the East (Vintage Burgess), London: Vintage Books, 2000, →ISBN, page 263:
- Soon Kartar Singh obliged with a song: / "A bird sat high on a banyan tree, / Carolling night and carolling day, / And on the heads of the passers-by …"
- (intransitive) To sing carols; especially to sing Christmas carols in a group.
- 2012, Patrena Dawkins-Anderson, chapter 8, in Chongtu: Conflict, Pittsburgh, Pa.: Red Lead Press, →ISBN, page 48:
- Christmas morning was welcomed by services in some churches. Everyone in the Bingham house, along with other church members, went carolling at five o'clock in the morning, which culminated in the Christmas message at the church, delivered by the pastor. Everyone's heart was blessed.
- (transitive) To praise or celebrate in song.
- 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], H[enry] Lawes, editor, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: […] [Comus], London: Printed [by Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, […], published 1637, OCLC 228715864; reprinted as Comus: […] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, OCLC 1113942837, lines 842–851, page 29:
- [S]till ſhe [Sabrina, a water nymph] retaines / Her maiden gentleneſſe, and oft at eve / Viſits the heards along the twilight meadows, / Helping all urchin blaſts, and ill lucke ſignes, / That the ſhrewd medling elfe delights to make, / Which ſhe with precious viol'd liquors heales; / For which the ſhepheards at their feſtivalls / Carroll her goodneſſe lowd in ruſticke layes, / And throw ſweet garland wreaths into her ſtreame / Of pancies, pinks, and gaudie daffadills.
- (transitive) To sing (a song) cheerfully.
- 1656, T. S., “The Third Month Called May hath xxxj Dayes”, in An Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1656. Being First after Leap Year; and from the Creation 5588. [...] Calculated for the Longitude of 315 gr: and 42 gr: 30 min. of N. Lat: and may Generally Serve for the Most Part of New England, Cambridge, Mass.: Printed by Samuel Green, OCLC 762241472:
- Now Sol hath ſcap't the Oxes horn, / The Ram, the winds, the ſtormes, and harms; / The loving Twins by Leda born, / Will entertain him in their arms. / And Flora ſmiles to feel thoſe beams / Which whilom were with-drawn ſo long. / The pratling birds, the purling ſtreams / Do carroll forth her wedding ſong.
- 1719, Mat[thew] Prior, “The Second Hymn of Callimachus to Apollo”, in Poems on Several Occasions, Dublin: Printed for J. Hyde in Dame-street, R. Gunne in Caple-street, R. Owen in Skinner-row, and E. Dobson in Castle-street, booksellers, OCLC 220040562, page 222:
- Why do the Delian Palms incline their Boughs, / Self-mov'd; and hov'ring Swans, their Throats releas'd / From native Silence, carol Sounds harmonious?
- 1774, William Richardson, “Runny Mead”, in Poems, Chiefly Rural, Glasgow: Printed by Robert & Andrew Foulis, printers to the University, OCLC 642399396, page 64:
- [...] Ye villagers rejoice; / And ye who cultivate the fertile glebe / Carrol the gladſome ſong. For you the plain / Shall wave with wheaten harveſts; and the gale / From blooming bean-fields ſhall diffuſe perfume.
carol (plural carols)
- (architecture) Alternative form of .
- [1822, Edward James Willson, comp., “Carol, or Carrel”, in A Glossary of Technical Terms, Descriptive of Gothic Architecture: Collected from Official Records, Passages in the Works of Poets, Historians, &c. of a Date Contemporay with that Style: And Collated with the Elucidations and Notes of Various Commentators, Glossarists, and Modern Editors. To Accompany the Specimens of Gothic Architecture, by A[gustus] Pugin, – Architect, 3rd edition, London: Printed for J[ohn] Taylor, Architectural Library, 59, High Holborn; J. Britton, Burton Street; and A. Pugin, 34, Store Street, OCLC 939430684, pages 2–3:
- Carol, or Carrel. A little pew, or closet, in a cloister, to sit and read in. They were common in greater monasteries, as Duram, Gloucester, Kirkham in Yorkshire, &c.; and had their name from the carols, or sentences inscribed on the walls about them, which often were couplets in rhyme. [Carola, Low Latin.]]
- 1860, Mackenzie Walcott, “[The Abbeys of Scotland.] Melrose”, in The Minsters and Abbey Ruins of the United Kingdom: Their History, Architecture, Monuments, and Traditions; with Notices of the Larger Parish Churches and Collegiate Chapels, London: Edward Stanford, 6, Charing Cross, OCLC 931097473, page 257:
- An exquisite south-east door is preserved; it is round-headed, of four orders, with a foliated label. A canopied carol or monk's seat, a Pointed crocketed arch within a square case, is seen beside it, succeeded on the south wall by an arcade of trefoiled arches with toothed mouldings.
- ^ [Jacobus Finno] (1582) Piæ cantiones ecclesiasticæ et scholasticæ vetervm episcoporum, in inclyto regno Sueciæ passim vsurpatæ, nuper studio viri cuiusdam reuerendiss: de ecclesia Dei & schola Aboënsi in Finlandia optimè meriti accuratè à mendis correctæ, & nunc typis commissæ, opera Theodorici Petri Nylandensis. His adiecti sunt aliquot ex psalmis recentioribus [Pious Ecclesiastical and School Songs of the Ancient Bishops, Used throughout the Glorious Kingdom of Sweden, Recently Accurately Corrected from Mistakes by the Study of a Very Respectable Man of Great Merit of the Church of God and the Aboensian School in Finland, and now Committed to Typography, by the Work of Theodoricus Petrus of Nyland. Some of the More Recent Psalms were Added to These.], Greifswald: [Theodoricus Petri Rutha of Nyland]; imprimebatur Gryphisuualdiæ, per Augustinum Ferberum [printed in Greifswald, by Augustine Ferber], OCLC 187068071.