Carousal - carousel

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Both these words exist in English, although neither is very common in Britain, so the spellchecker will accept them. But their meanings are very different, as indeed is their pronunciation. Be sure that you use the right one.

  • carousal has the main stress on the second syllable, 'cuh-ROWS-el', IPA: /ke ˈraʊ zəll/. It is an uncommon word because it is old and out of current use. It is the noun from the old verb 'to carouse', meaning 'to drink [alcoholic liquor] abundantly', or 'to have a drunken party'. The Porter in Macbeth says, "Faith, sir, we were carousing till the second cock", which means roughly 'we were drinking till dawn'-. So a carousal is an occasion of drunken jollity.
  • Carousel was originally a French word (see also carousel (spelling)), and is pronounced in roughly the French way. The first vowel sound is like that in 'cat'; the second sounds more like that in 'through'; and the main stress is on the third syllable, 'ca-roo-SELL', IPA: /kæ ruː ˈsɛl/. This word is uncommon in the UK because it is essentially an American word for which we British already have two alternatives, 'merry-go-round' and 'round-about'. They are nouns which denote a 'ride' in a fun-fair - an essentially old-fashioned and rather calm one, in which horses go round and round, and possibly a little up and down as well. Versions for smaller children often replace the horses with various vehicles, or even large cups and saucers.

The meaning of carousel has been extended to a number of machines that turn things round. Various devices of retail selling are called carousels. In airports, the luggage carousel is the name of the device on which luggage is turned round for passengers to claim their own possessions, and nobody calls this a merry-go-round (waiting for one's luggage is not likely to make one merry).