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or kermess, kirmess

[kur-mis] /ˈkɜr mɪs/
(in the Low Countries) a local, annual outdoor fair or festival.
a similar entertainment, usually for charitable purposes.
Origin of kermis
1570-80; < Dutch, earlier ker(c)misse (kerc church + misse Mass); originally a fair at the dedication of a church Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for kermess
Historical Examples
  • Indeed, the girl was very happy this especial evening, although tired with her duties at the kermess.

  • It had all been a lie from the day when he had come to her pretty booth at the kermess.

    A Lady of Rome F. Marion Crawford
  • The kermess was to be the holiday sensation of the season and bade fair to eclipse the horse show in popularity.

  • The kermess, or literally, “Church mass,” so famous in “Faust.”

    Elizabethan England William Harrison
  • Then the attention quickened, as every bar of the kermess chorus brought them nearer to the moment for Valentine's coming.

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • Had it anything to do with the society for which Monsieur Desvanneaux asked me to appear in a kermess?

    Zibeline, Complete Phillipe de Massa
  • They had persuaded me to take one of the booths at kermess in the Villa, and he appeared quite unexpectedly.

    A Lady of Rome F. Marion Crawford
  • I crossed, and found the place all alive in anticipation of a kermess, or fair, that was to be held there the next day but one.

  • Uncle John really had more fun out of the famous kermess than anyone else.

British Dictionary definitions for kermess


(formerly, esp in Holland and Northern Germany) an annual country festival or carnival
(US & Canadian) a similar event, esp one held to collect money for charity
Word Origin
C16: from Middle Dutch kercmisse, from kerc church + misseMass; originally a festival held to celebrate the dedication of a church
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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