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See also: Carol


Etymology 1[edit]

The first page of the score of Gaudete (Latin for “rejoice”), a sacred Christmas carol published in Piae Cantiones (1582)[1]

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.



carol (plural carols)

  1. (historical) A round dance accompanied by singing.
  2. A ballad or song of joy.
    1. (specifically) A (usually traditional) religious or secular song sung at Christmastime.
      They sang a Christmas carol.
Alternative forms[edit]


carol (third-person singular simple present carols, present participle (UK) carolling or (US) caroling, simple past and past participle (UK) carolled or (US) caroled)

  1. (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.
  2. (intransitive) To sing in a joyful manner.
    • 1579, Immeritô [pseudonym; Edmund Spenser], “October. Aegloga Decima.”, in The Shepheardes Calender: Conteyning Tvvelue Æglogues Proportionable to the Twelue Monethes. Entitled to the Noble and Vertuous Gentleman Most Worthy of All Titles both of Learning and Cheualrie M. Philip Sidney, London: Printed by Hugh Singleton, dwelling in Creede Lane neere vnto Ludgate at the signe of the gylden Tunne, and are there to be solde, OCLC 606515406; republished as The Shepheardes Calender, Conteining Twelue Æglogues Proportionable to the Twelue Monethes. Entitled to the Noble and Vertuous Gentleman Most Worthie of All Titles, both of Learning and Chiualry, Maister Philip Sidney, imprinted at London: By Iohn Wolfe for Iohn Harrison the yonger, dwelling in Pater noster Roe, at the signe of the anker, 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, Dublin: Printed by Charles Ingham, bookseller, in Skinner-Row, OCLC 990824300; republished as The Minstrel; or, The Progress of Genius: In Two Books. With Some Other Poems, London: Printed by T. Gillet, for C[harles] Dilly, in the Poultry, and W[illiam] Creech, Edinburgh, 1797, OCLC 520647259, stanza V, page 5:
      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 …"
    • 1981, Julian May, The Many-colored Land, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, →ISBN; republished as The Many-coloured Land, London: Tor Books, 2013, →ISBN, page 389:
      'Yoo-hoo!' he caroled. 'Goody time!'
  3. (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.
    • 2014, Christmas at Grandma’s, Columbus, Oh.: Gooseberry Patch, →ISBN, page 80:
      Gather up the neighbor kids and go caroling around the neighborhood … just for the joy of singing together!
  4. (transitive) To praise or celebrate in song.
    • 1637, [John Milton], A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: On Michaelmasse Night, before the Right Honorable, Iohn Earle of Bridgewater, Vicount Brackly, Lord Præsident of Wales, and One of His Maiesties Most Honorable Privie Counsell, London: Printed [by Augustine Mathewes] for Humphrey Robinson, at the signe of the Three Pidgeons in Pauls Church-yard, OCLC 673434718; republished as “Comus, a Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle”, in Thomas Wharton, editor, Poems upon Several Occasions, English, Italian, and Latin, with Translations, by John Milton. Viz. Lycidas, L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, Arcades, Comus, Odes, Sonnets, Miscellanies, English Psalms, Elegiarum Liber, Epigrammatum Liber, Sylvarum Liber. With Notes Critical and Explanatory, and Other Illustrations, by Thomas Wharton, B.D. [...], 2nd edition, London: Printed for G. G. J. and J. Robinson, Pater-noster Row, 1791, OCLC 731591991, lines 842–851, pages 235–237:
      [S]till ſhe [Sabrina, a water nymph] retains / Her maiden gentleneſs, and oft at eve / Viſits the herds along the twilight meadows, / Helping all urchin blaſts, and ill-luck ſigns, / That the ſhrewd medling elfe delights to make, / Which ſhe with precious vial'd liquours heals; / For which the ſhepherds at their feſtivals / Carol her goodneſs loud in ruſtic lays, / And throw ſweet garland wreaths into her ſtream / Of pancies, pinks, and gaudy daffadils.
  5. (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.
Alternative forms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

See carrel.


carol (plural carols)

  1. (architecture) Alternative form of carrel (small closet or enclosure built against a window on the inner side, to sit in for study).
    • [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.


  1. ^ [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.

Further reading[edit]




carol m (plural caroli) or carol m (plural carułi)

  1. woodworm
  2. dental caries

Related terms[edit]