Definition of fete in English:


(also fête)


  • 1A public function, typically held outdoors and organized to raise funds for a charity, including entertainment and the sale of goods and refreshments.

    ‘a church fete’
    • ‘A special tribute was paid to Paul O'Toole, John Whelan and the Dove House Group for their work in preparing the hospital grounds for the fête.’
    • ‘Hilary also said that their garden fête on the June Bank Holiday weekend this year was a bigger success than ever and raised £3,700 for Dove House.’
    • ‘Sarah Gaventa, who organises the V&A's annual fête, says it is thanks to these artists that many British industries still exist.’
    • ‘You know the sort of thing; local school fête raises money for hospice, beach wins blue flag award for third year running.’
    • ‘With my other half back from a gruelling tour of South Africa, not unlike Victoria's husband a few weeks earlier, we were ready for the beach, although there was a tempting offer to open a school fête in West London which almost held us back.’
    • ‘Despite the bad weather the fête raised a record £2,268 and the Rev Sally Attwater thanked everyone for turning out and supporting it in such unfavourable conditions.’
    • ‘It may be that the unnamed camellia you recently purchased at a school fête has just produced its first perfect blossom.’
    • ‘It used to be part of the church fête but we decided to have a separate flower show in its own right so it could be a bigger event.’
    • ‘The fête raised more than £1,600 for books for the new library.’
    • ‘‘He can't go and open a fête or something because he doesn't know who to be,’ observed his more relaxed, clubbable partner.’
    • ‘The headteacher has banned homemade cakes from sale at fund-raising stalls and fêtes because of health risk fears.’
    • ‘As late as 1987 a street fête held to raise money for a local charity caused Vera to remark, ‘There we all were, all pulling together’.’
    • ‘The fête, organised by the Little Island Residents' Association, raised £230 towards the provision of sheds for the families who live in the former old hospital buildings.’
    • ‘These included a flag day, sale of badges, a garden fête and private donations.’
    • ‘In lotteries incidental to exempt entertainment - for example those conducted at a school fête - the proceeds must be used for the benefit of any deserving section of the public.’
    • ‘Supporters of this show even insist that being dumped in the Australian jungle is good for celebrities: the weak are culled but the strong are released into the wild, to appear on chat shows and open fêtes.’
    gala, gala day, garden party, bazaar, fair, feast, festival, fiesta, jubilee, pageant, carnival, funfair
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    1. 1.1North American A celebration or festival.
      • ‘The ensemble is dressed all in red, dancing in pairs as though at a popular fête.’
      • ‘We explored the oldest protected rainforest, the soft coral reefs, and the all-night fêtes of the Caribbean's farthest reaches.’
      • ‘Organizers expect upward of 300,000 visitors; the spectacular 10-day fête includes arts festivals, workshops, a Mardi Gras parade, and sports, health and youth events.’
      • ‘As for areas populated by those destined to remain at home during the summer, brides and grooms and their entourages tour local fêtes in which the loudspeakers are strategically placed to ensure no one is deprived of their blast.’
      • ‘Plácido Domingo persuades the Met to revive Sly, an opera rarely seen since 1927 (then he doesn't really deliver); New York Festival of Song throws a splendid fête.’
      • ‘Yet it is to my best recollection that it was not you I invited to make plans for my upcoming fête, but your dear sister.’
      • ‘This garlic bouillon was classically made the day after a fête, being excellent for hangovers as well as soothing for convalescents.’
      • ‘Édouard had never spoken of his son… never at our frequent fêtes, or at any of our great gatherings.’
      • ‘The following year the ‘Marseillaise’ was adopted as the national anthem, and the 14 July as a national fête, to join the tricolor as the national flag.’
      • ‘It helps tremendously that Montrealers haven't yet felt the first pangs of festival fatigue - timing is everything in fête season, especially in film.’
      • ‘It has been a difficult thing, arranging this fête.’
      • ‘January and February are the months of anticipation, listening to bands play at huge fêtes all over the island.’
      • ‘She plays Anne de Montausier, who arrives with King Louis XIV's court for a three-day fête.’
      gala, gala day, garden party, bazaar, fair, feast, festival, fiesta, jubilee, pageant, carnival, funfair
      View synonyms


  • Honour or entertain (someone) lavishly.

    ‘she was an instant celebrity, feted by the media’
    • ‘Also leading the field is Chris van der Kuyl, who has been fêted as one of Scotland's leading young entrepreneurs.’
    • ‘He was nonetheless fêted on his return home in September 1919, awarded five-star rank and served as COS between 1921-4 before retirement.’
    • ‘But all this was only a prelude: the true celebration came Saturday night, when forty or so of my parents' friends joined us to fête David and Carée's engagement.’
    • ‘She visited London in 1803, when she was fêted by the literary world, meeting, among others, Byron, Sydney Smith, Joanna Baillie, and Crabb Robinson.’
    • ‘After the UN meeting the African leaders were fêted by US businessmen.’
    • ‘Despite being fêted as the greatest Shakespearean actor of his generation, he used to claim that he never understood a character until he found the right hat.’
    • ‘His first volume of poems, the Kilmarnock Edition of 1786, aroused great enthusiasm and he was fêted in Edinburgh social circles.’
    • ‘But Save Montreal shaped the city we know, so much so that last week city hall - its former foe - formally fêted its main dude Michael Fish.’
    • ‘Each of the boys was awarded the Purple Heart for gallantry and their parents were fêted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House.’
    • ‘On his death last February, Miller was fêted as 20th-century America's greatest dramatist.’
    • ‘The last suicide in the novel is not Anna's: it is that of a man, already being fêted as a hero by many, who wants to kill and die in the same breath.’
    • ‘This is the 29th year that Caribbean culture is fêted in Montreal, a celebration coinciding with carnivals all over North America that took form after the emancipation of slaves in Trinidad and Tobago.’
    • ‘What made things worse for Williamson was that the British Olympic Association had fêted her as a gold medal prospect.’
    • ‘He spent his remaining years dividing his time between Germany and Israel, where he was fêted and helped by Jews he had aided.’
    • ‘Yusuf was still fêted by the fashion writers - even though womenswear had been a commercial disaster.’
    • ‘The Jesuit astronomers at the Roman college fêted him at a special conference.’
    • ‘But don't overdo the liqueurs - there are likely to be numerous toasts as the bard is fêted late into the night.’
    • ‘During the dot-com boom, software engineers became celebrities, fêted by the press.’
    • ‘It's the usual story: we are fêted as heroines when we land at Edinburgh airport and then, within a few days, folk have forgotten our names.’
    • ‘Scott is being fêted with the world premiere screenings of the 25th anniversary edition of Alien, his '79 horror-sci-fi-suspense masterpiece.’
    celebrate, fete, glorify, honour, bestow honour on, exalt, acclaim, admire, commend, sing the praises of, sound the praises of, praise, extol, applaud, hail, make a fuss of, make a fuss over, make much of, cry up, venerate, eulogize, sing paeans to, reverence, pay homage to, pay tribute to, put on a pedestal, hero-worship, worship, idolize, adulate
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘festival, fair’): from French, from Old French feste (see feast).