Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Shrove Tuesday, celebrated as a holiday in many places with carnivals, masquerade balls, and parades of costumed merrymakers.
  • n. A carnival period coming to a climax on this day.
  • n. An occasion of great festivity and merrymaking.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, when traditionally all fat and meat in the house were finished up, before Christians were banned from eating them during Lent, which commenced the following day on Ash Wednesday.
  • n. The last day of a carnival, traditionally the celebration immediately before the start of Lent when joy would be out of place for Christians.
  • n. A carnival.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The last day of Carnival; the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent and fasting); Shrove Tuesday; -- in some cities a great day of carnival and merrymaking; in the United States it is especially associated with New Orleans.
  • n. The series of festival events celebrated on Mardi Gras{1}.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Shrove Tuesday; the last day of carnival; the day before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which in some places, as in New Orleans, is celebrated with revelry and elaborate display.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a carnival held in some countries on Shrove Tuesday (the last day before Lent) but especially in New Orleans
  • n. the last day before Lent

Etymologies

French : mardi, Tuesday + gras, fat (from the feasting on Mardi Gras before Lenten fasting).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from French mardi gras. (Wiktionary)

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