[kar-uh l]


verb (used without object), car·oled, car·ol·ing or (especially British) car·olled, car·ol·ling.

to sing Christmas songs or hymns, especially in a group performing in a public place or going from house to house.
to sing, especially in a lively, joyous manner; warble.

verb (used with object), car·oled, car·ol·ing or (especially British) car·olled, car·ol·ling.

to sing joyously.
to praise or celebrate in song.

Origin of carol

1250–1300; Middle English carole ring, circle (of stones), enclosed place for study (see carrel), ringdance with song (hence, song) < Anglo-French carole, Old French *corole (compare Old Provençal corola), apparently < Latin corolla garland (see corolla), conflated with Latin choraula < Greek choraúlēs piper for choral dance, equivalent to chor(ós) chorus + -aulēs, derivative of aulós pipe
Related formscar·ol·er; especially British, car·ol·ler, nounout·car·ol, verb (used with object), out·car·oled, out·car·ol·ing or (especially British) out·car·olled, out·car·ol·ling.un·car·oled, adjectiveun·car·olled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for caroling

Contemporary Examples of caroling

  • Presumably with caroling, though presumably not with “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    Keep Christmas Commercialized!

    P. J. O’Rourke

    December 6, 2014

Historical Examples of caroling

  • I have heard them caroling with all cheerfulness in the midst of a driving snow-storm.

    Birds in the Bush

    Bradford Torrey

  • Feelings and aspirations move like flocks of caroling songsters.

    A Man's Value to Society

    Newell Dwight Hillis

  • But it is a cold night for caroling, and I hope you have been taken care of within.

  • Somewhere in the woods behind them a robin was caroling with liquid harmony.

    Darkness and Dawn

    George Allan England

  • You dont mean to say you been caroling your roundelays in that place?

    The Heart of Canyon Pass

    Thomas K. Holmes

British Dictionary definitions for caroling



a joyful hymn or religious song, esp one (a Christmas carol) celebrating the birth of Christ
archaic an old English circular dance

verb -ols, -olling or -olled or US -ols, -oling or -oled

(intr) to sing carols at Christmas
to sing (something) in a joyful manner
Derived Formscaroler or caroller, nouncaroling or carolling, noun

Word Origin for carol

C13: from Old French, of uncertain origin
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

Word Origin and History for caroling

c.1300, verbal noun from carol (v.).


masc. proper name, from Medieval Latin Carolus (see Charles). As a fem. proper name, an abbreviation of Caroline. The masc. name never has been popular in U.S.; the fem. form was common after c.1900 and was a top-10 name for U.S. girls born 1936-1950.



c.1300, "to dance in a ring," from Old French caroler, from carole (see carol (n.)). As "to sing" from late 14c. Related: Caroled; caroling.



c.1300, "joyful song," also "dance in a ring," from Old French carole "kind of dance in a ring, round dance accompanied by singers," perhaps from Medieval Latin choraula "a dance to the flute," from Latin choraules "flute-player," from Greek khoraules "flute player who accompanies the choral dance," from khoros "chorus" (see chorus) + aulein "to play the flute," from aulos "reed instrument" (see alveolus). The meaning "Christmas hymn of joy" is attested from c.1500.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper