Definitions

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

  • n. A song of praise or joy, especially for Christmas.
  • n. An old round dance often accompanied by singing.
  • intransitive v. To sing in a loud, joyous manner.
  • intransitive v. To go from house to house singing Christmas songs.
  • transitive v. To celebrate in or as if in song: caroling the victory.
  • transitive v. To sing loudly and joyously.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A round dance accompanied by singing.
  • n. A song of joy.
  • n. A religious song or ballad of joy.
  • v. To sing in a joyful manner.
  • v. To sing carols, especially Christmas carols in a group.
  • v. To praise (someone or something) in or with a song.
  • v. To sing (a song) cheerfully.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A round dance.
  • n. A song of joy, exultation, or mirth; a lay.
  • n. A song of praise of devotion.
  • n. Joyful music, as of a song.
  • n. A small closet or inclosure built against a window on the inner side, to sit in for study. The word was used as late as the 16th century. The term carrel, of the same has largely superseded its use.
  • intransitive v. To sing; esp. to sing joyfully; to warble.
  • transitive v. To praise or celebrate in song.
  • transitive v. To sing, especially with joyful notes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To sing; warble; sing in joy or festivity.
  • To sing joyously.
  • To praise or celebrate in song.
  • n. A kind of circular dance.
  • n. [It is often difficult to tell from the context whether carol is the dance or the song that seems to have been sung as an accompaniment to it; but in Chaucer it usually means simply the dance.]
  • n. A song, especially one expressive of joy; often, specifically, a joyous song or ballad in celebration of Christmas.
  • n. A ring of leaves or flowers; a garland; a wreath.
  • n. In architecture: A small closet or inclosure in which to sit and read. A bay-window.
  • n. Also written carrel, carrell, carrall.

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

  • n. a joyful song (usually celebrating the birth of Christ)
  • v. sing carols
  • n. joyful religious song celebrating the birth of Christ

Etymologies

Middle English carole, round dance with singing, from Old French, probably from Late Latin choraula, choral song, from Latin choraulēs, accompanist, from Greek khoraulēs : khoros, choral dance.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French carole, from Italian carola, from Medieval Latin choraula, from Ancient Greek χοραυλής (choravles, "one who accompanies a chorus on the flute"), from χορός (choros, "dance, choir") + αὐλός (avlos, "flute"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • My mother's name, and a hurricane name retired in 1954.

    December 2, 2008

  • It was high in her when she arrived at Mrs. Hazelton's and caroled to the maid who opened the door, "Well, Dellie, it's been a long time since we've seen each other, hasn't it?"
    —Dorothy Parker, 'The Bolt behind the Blue'

    November 12, 2008

  • Carol by Chuck Berry

    February 8, 2008