[fes-tuh-vuh l]


a day or time of religious or other celebration, marked by feasting, ceremonies, or other observances: the festival of Christmas; a Roman festival.
a periodic commemoration, anniversary, or celebration: an annual strawberry festival.
a period or program of festive activities, cultural events, or entertainment: a music festival.
gaiety; revelry; merrymaking.


festal: a festival atmosphere of unrestrained joy.

Origin of festival

1300–50; Middle English < Medieval Latin fēstivālis (diēs) holy (day). See festive, -al1
Related formspre·fes·ti·val, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for festival

Contemporary Examples of festival

Historical Examples of festival

  • This festival, in honour of Dionysus, was observed with great splendour.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • This was a common practice during the festival of Thargelia, in honour of Phœbus.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Only these four had kept New England's festival beneath that roof.

  • They wish to celebrate the patriarch's birthday by a festival.

  • Naturally a great deal was told me concerning this festival from which they had just returned.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

British Dictionary definitions for festival



a day or period set aside for celebration or feasting, esp one of religious significance
any occasion for celebration, esp one which commemorates an anniversary or other significant event
an organized series of special events and performances, usually in one placea festival of drama
archaic a time of revelry; merrymaking
(modifier) relating to or characteristic of a festival

Word Origin for festival

C14: from Church Latin fēstivālis of a feast, from Latin festīvus festive
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 festival

1580s, from earlier adjective (14c.), from Old French festival "suitable for a feast, solemn, magnificent, joyful, happy," and directly from Medieval Latin festivalis "of a church holiday" (see festivity).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper