Definition of carol in US English:



  • A religious folk song or popular hymn, particularly one associated with Christmas.

    ‘singing Christmas carols around the tree’
    as modifier ‘a carol service’
    • ‘The lights are aglow in the windows, the sound of the Christmas carols and the song we associate with the season of goodwill to all men is with us once again.’
    • ‘Under the guidance of Eileen, the children of the school danced, sang Christmas carols and played musical instruments.’
    • ‘And of course families and friends enjoyed gathering around the piano to sing Christmas carols.’
    • ‘I always loved singing Christmas carols and hymns, and looked forward to the Nine Lessons and Carols service before Christmas.’
    • ‘A choir of enlisted men and aviation cadets sang Christmas carols.’
    • ‘One of the main objectives of the choir at present is to put together a presentation of hymns and carols for Christmas services.’
    • ‘The atmosphere in Milltown is brilliant with Christmas carols playing over the loudspeakers in the carpark and the cottage and gardens all lit up.’
    • ‘Riders will learn about trains, can sing Christmas carols in the piano bar and may have a glimpse of Santa on the train.’
    • ‘Christmas carols were being sung by almost everyone in the lodge.’
    • ‘Once Santa made his rounds, the Trill Band entertained everyone with Christmas carols and festive music.’
    • ‘A combined choir of five churches will sing Christmas carols in Latin and English.’
    • ‘Can your students play ‘Happy Birthday To You’ or Christmas carols at the holidays?’
    • ‘We would watch those popular Christmas movies and sing Christmas carols.’
    • ‘Groups singing carols and folk songs to the beat of local musical instruments would arrive unannounced at any time of the night.’
    • ‘I love being able to sing carols and Christmas songs.’
    • ‘Walking past the radio, which hums with Christmas carols, Leslie answers the door.’
    • ‘Local schoolchildren led a rousing rendition of some popular Christmas carols and Santa Claus was on hand.’
    • ‘That's one of our most beautiful and popular Christmas carols.’
    • ‘There will be plenty of merriment as well, with bon-bons, Christmas carols and games rounding off celebrations.’
    • ‘The festivities included singing traditional Christmas carols and a glorious lighting display on the beach side of the shopping center.’
    christmas song, hymn, psalm, canticle
    View synonyms


  • 1with object Sing or say (something) happily.

    ‘she was cheerfully caroling the words of the song’
    with direct speech ‘‘Goodbye,’ he caroled’
    • ‘‘Watch myself sell my self,’ the line carolled over and over in Hectors mind.’
    • ‘‘Someone to see you,’ the nurse carolled and, giving Liz a little push, left the room.’
    • ‘Then there was the yearly appearance of the young lady who, clad in riding outfit and cracking a mean whip, leapt on to the stage carolling ‘The next horse I ride on I'm going to be tied on.’’
    • ‘‘Come in, come in ‘, she carolled and beckoning with a hand, walked further into the kitchens.’’
    • ‘Leo caroled her laughter, and said: ‘The gem is the one I picked when I created my character!’’
    • ‘‘My lady,’ he caroled, ‘Whatever have I done to be graced by your presence?’’
    • ‘He didn't even look up when Mary Ann caroled, ‘Hello, Gilligan!’’
    • ‘Yet, I don't spring out of bed each morning, carolling syrupy songs about how glad I am to be preparing for work.’
    • ‘‘Actually it's Jessie leaves the hooooouse time,’ I caroled back, skirting out of the kitchen.’
    sing, trill, chorus, warble, chirp, pipe, quaver, chant, intone
    View synonyms
  • 2often as noun carolingThe activity of singing Christmas carols.

    ‘a night of Christmas caroling was traditional’
    ‘we caroled from door to door’
    • ‘The carolling went really well last year, and we managed to raise over €1,358.00 which was donated to Oasis, the women's refuge.’
    • ‘They all insisted that they want both carolling and Christmas party this year.’
    • ‘The FACES Club, with its mandate of breaking racial barriers and promoting cross-cultural friendships, decided to participate in the carolling to raise awareness about what they stand for.’
    • ‘Off to bed with you two, ‘added father, ‘We don't want to be asleep when we go caroling.‘’
    • ‘The fundraising carolling will continue at Monks Cross next Saturday, from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm, and in Parliament Street on Christmas Eve.’
    • ‘The small towns reflect a quieter time: neighbors still gather in community parks for picnics on the 4th of July and caroling at Christmas.’
    • ‘The town's Christmas street lights will be switched on as various carol singing groups gather for the traditional street carolling in The Square.’
    • ‘There will be caroling in front of the church on that day, and of course, services on Christmas Eve.’
    • ‘Roary the Lion will lead club members in the carolling at various locations around the borough.’
    • ‘Some of the residents followed them around while they were caroling through the hallways.’
    • ‘More photographs of the carolling will be in Wednesday's Guardian.’
    • ‘Later we'll have some pumpkin pie and we'll do some carolling.’
    • ‘An aspiring magician can perform magic, someone who has a great voice can read ‘A Christmas Carol,’ and someone who likes to sing can lead the caroling.’
    • ‘The children have caroling and hot chocolate and they decorate the tree.’
    • ‘To make up for missing caroling, we all sang together on the way there.’
    • ‘A man, peering down out me and clearly amused, asked me over the jubilant caroling my name and what I did.’
    • ‘Not only were nine out ten adults convinced that Christmas carolling was disappearing as a tradition, but nine out of ten were also worried about it.’


Middle English: from Old French carole (noun), caroler (verb), of unknown origin.