carnival

If you have an annual festival going on in your neighborhood that involves live music, street vendors, and games, you could call that a carnival.

The word carnival originally referred to a public festival involving general merriment and feasting, often taking place on the street and frequently associated with a religious holiday. Later the word’s meaning broadened to refer to a traveling show that offers similar activities, like a winter carnival or a fair. Nowadays the word carnival is also used figuratively to refer to something characterized by raucous disorder. If, for example, your coworkers ended up heckling your CEO at a company meeting, you could describe the scene as a carnival (although you would most likely NOT see any cotton candy in the board room).

Definitions of carnival
  1. noun
    a traveling show; having sideshows and rides and games of skill etc.
    synonyms: fair, funfair
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    type of:
    show
    the act of publicly exhibiting or entertaining
  2. noun
    a festival marked by merrymaking and processions
    see moresee less
    types:
    Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras
    a carnival held in some countries on Shrove Tuesday (the last day before Lent) but especially in New Orleans
    type of:
    festival, fete
    an organized series of acts and performances (usually in one place)
  3. noun
    a frenetic disorganized (and often comic) disturbance suggestive of a large public entertainment
    “the whole occasion had a carnival atmosphere”
    synonyms: circus
    see moresee less
    type of:
    disturbance
    the act of disturbing something or someone; setting something in motion
Word Family
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