Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Shrove Tuesday, celebrated as a holiday in many places with carnivals, masquerade balls, and parades of costumed merrymakers.
  • n. A carnival period coming to a climax on this day.
  • n. An occasion of great festivity and merrymaking.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, when traditionally all fat and meat in the house were finished up, before Christians were banned from eating them during Lent, which commenced the following day on Ash Wednesday.
  • n. The last day of a carnival, traditionally the celebration immediately before the start of Lent when joy would be out of place for Christians.
  • n. A carnival.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The last day of Carnival; the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent and fasting); Shrove Tuesday; -- in some cities a great day of carnival and merrymaking; in the United States it is especially associated with New Orleans.
  • n. The series of festival events celebrated on Mardi Gras{1}.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Shrove Tuesday; the last day of carnival; the day before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which in some places, as in New Orleans, is celebrated with revelry and elaborate display.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a carnival held in some countries on Shrove Tuesday (the last day before Lent) but especially in New Orleans
  • n. the last day before Lent

Etymologies

French : mardi, Tuesday + gras, fat (from the feasting on Mardi Gras before Lenten fasting).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from French mardi gras. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Now, both under the influence of drops, V'lu had wandered off to view Pan, while Madame rested in the eye of the hurricane, hallucinating about Jesus, Wally Lester, a Mardi Gras baby, gris-gris, zombie butter, and the way things used to be.

    La insistencia de Jürgen Fauth

  • It slid through the slot with an appropriately soft sound, like a headachey matron folding her Mardi Gras fan.

    La insistencia de Jürgen Fauth

  • "Priscilla was a Mardi Gras baby, " Lily said, out of the blue.

    La insistencia de Jürgen Fauth

  • There were in the French Quarter, after all, gay men who wore dog collars and were led around on leashes by their lovers, there were heavily tattooed women who draped themselves with snakes, Dixie mystics who sewed their eyelids shut and would tell your fortune for a beignet, and people who wore their Mardi Gras costumes three hundred and sixty-five days of the year.

    La insistencia de Jürgen Fauth

  • His business partner was a black bondsman named Little Albert Babineau who had recently made the state news wires after he threw packages of condoms off a Mardi Gras float.

    Jolie Blon’s Bounce

  • A Particle instrumental from their album "Launchpad" played by Phil Lesh and Friends at their Mardi Gras concert in 2005.

    Below Radar

  • We were climbing into the Schignano valley, where the locals held a kind of Mardi Gras celebration in early March, a carnevale famous throughout northern Italy for the elaborate wooden masks that the Schignanese designed and wore.

    The Italian Summer

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