• synonyms


or ker·mess, kir·mess

  1. (in the Low Countries) a local, annual outdoor fair or festival.
  2. a similar entertainment, usually for charitable purposes.
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Origin of kermis

1570–80; < Dutch, earlier ker(c)misse (kerc church + misse Mass); originally a fair at the dedication of a church
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for kermess

Historical Examples

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

    Elizabethan England

    William Harrison

  • 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

  • The Kermess was to be the holiday sensation of the season and bade fair to eclipse the horse show in popularity.

  • Indeed, the girl was very happy this especial evening, although tired with her duties at the Kermess.

British Dictionary definitions for kermess



  1. (formerly, esp in Holland and Northern Germany) an annual country festival or carnival
  2. US and Canadian a similar event, esp one held to collect money for charity
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Word Origin

C16: from Middle Dutch kercmisse, from kerc church + misse Mass; 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