Car"ni*val (?), n. [It. carnevale, prob. for older carnelevale, prop., the putting away of meat; fr. L. caro, carnis, flesh _ levare to take away, lift up, fr. levis light.]
A festival celebrated with merriment and revelry in Roman Catholic countries during the week before Lent, esp. at Rome and Naples, during a few days (three to ten) before Lent, ending with Shrove Tuesday.
The carnival at Venice is everywhere talked of.
Any merrymaking, feasting, or masquerading, especially when overstepping the bounds of decorum; a time of riotous excess.
He saw the lean dogs beneath the wall
Hold o'er the dead their carnival
© Webster 1913.