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n. pl. rev·el·ries
Boisterous merrymaking.

rev′el·rous (-rəs) adj.


n, pl -ries
noisy or unrestrained merrymaking


(ˈrɛv əl ri)

n., pl. -ries.
boisterous festivity.



beer and skittles Fun and games, amusement and pleasure. This British expression stems from the days when skittles, a game akin to ninepins, was often played in alleys adjacent to country inns. The phrase usually appears negatively in expressions such as Life is not all beer and skittles. In Pickwick Papers, Dickens used the phrase porter and skittles.

cakes and ale Pleasure and good times, with connotations of carousing and self-indulgence. In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the puritanical Malvolio is reproached by the bibulous Sir Toby Belch:

Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale? (II, iii)

Somerset Maugham used the phrase as the title of his 1930 satirical novel of the lives of two writers, presumably Thomas Hardy and Hugh Walpole.

cock-a-hoop See ELATION.

cut a caper To perform a spirited, frolicsome dance step; to behave in a playful, frisky manner. Caper is said to derive from the Italian capra ‘she-goat’; thus, cut a caper alludes to the frisky, erratic movements of goats. In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (I, iii), a dialogue between Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek lends credence to this explanation. Sir Toby’s response to the claim that Sir Andrew can “cut a caper” plays on the allusion to a goat by reference to a sheep.

And I can cut the mutton to it.

Today the figurative use is more common, shifting the emphasis from the actual dance step to similarly frolicsome and frisky behavior.

dance the antic hay To lead a hectic, pleasure-seeking life; to be a jet-setter, a hedonist. The hay was a lively English dance, somewhat like a reel. In an antic hay, the dancers wore masks of animal faces and moved with grotesque, uncouth gestures. The emphasis was on lustful and lecherous behavior.

My men, like satyrs, … shall with their goat feet dance the antic hay. (Christopher Marlowe, Edward II I, I, approx. 1593)

high jinks Unrestrained revelry; unbounded merrymaking; mischievous fun. High jinks was originally a 17th-century game in which a person, according to his dice throw, had to gulp down a drink, imitate a famous person, or perform some other prescribed task.

All sorts of high jinks go on on the grass plot. (Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown at Oxford, 1861)

kick up one’s heels To frolic, gambol, or make merry; to enjoy one-self, to have fun. This self-evident expression may be related to either heelkicking or kick-up, 18th-century terms denoting a dance. Since dancing is often associated with merriment and high spirits, the activity became synonymous with the mood.

kill the fatted calf To rejoice or celebrate; to indulge in jubilant merrymaking; to entertain sumptuously. This expression’s Biblical origin lies in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 23):

And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat and be merry.

a night on the tiles An evening of carousing and merrymaking; a night on the town; a high old time. This British colloquialism comes by analogy with cats’ nocturnal reveling and caterwauling on the tile rooftops of city dwellings.

paint the town red To carouse, go on a riotous spree; to take part in a reckless and boisterous celebration. This U.S. slang expression appears as early as 1884 in the Boston Journal:

Whenever there was any excitement or anybody got particularly loud, they always said somebody was “painting the town red.”

Why red?

A “spectrophotometric study of pigments,” by Professor Nicolls, is recommended to young men who intend to “paint the town red.” (Boston Journal, 1884)

This tongue-in-cheek exhortation plays with the fact that red is the color at the extreme end of the visible spectrum, which perhaps accounts for its association with extremes or immoderation. However, red symbolizes many things, including passion, violence, and promiscuity, to name a few, and there is no evidence to verify that one explanation is more correct than another.

pub-crawl To move from one nightspot to another on a drinking bout; to barhop. This expression is commonplace in Great Britain, where pub is a shortening of public house ‘bar, tavern.’ The expression implies that the reveler will dawdle at each drinking-hole and that he may be moving on all fours before the evening is over.

red-letter day Any day marked by a memorable, happy, or significant event. The Calendar of the Book of Common Prayer, as well as other liturgical calendars, marked festival and holy days in red, a practice retained on many secular calendars which designate Sundays and holidays in similar fashion. Figurative application to any noteworthy day dates from the 18th century.

I used to dine and pass the evening with Dr. Jeune; and these were my red-letter days. (Thomas A. Trollope, What I Remember, 1887)

see the elephant To do the town, to visit the “big city”; to see the world, especially its seamy side. This American colloquialism probably stems from an old ballad that tells of a farmer whose horse was knocked over by a circus elephant as the two animals tried to pass each other on a narrow road. Though the horse was injured, and the milk and eggs which were to be sold at the market were ruined, the farmer took solace in the thought that at least he had seen the elephant. In common usage, the expression is usually employed somewhat facetiously.

He makes his rounds every evening, while you and I see the elephant once a week. (O. Henry, Four Million, 1906)

sow wild oats See PROMISCUOUSNESS.

tear up the pea patch To go on a wild spree, to go on a rampage. According to Wentworth and Flexner (A Dictionary of American Slang), baseball announcer “Red” Barber popularized this expression in his broadcasts of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ baseball games (approx. 1945-55). An analogous Americanism is go on a tear.

trip the light fantastic To dance; to frolic or make merry. This expression is derived from John Milton’s L’Allegro (1631):

Come, and trip it, as you go,
On the light fantastic toe.

Thus, trip the light fantastic combines trip, from the Middle English trippen ‘to step lightly,’ with light fantastic, converted into a noun phrase by the omission of toe but retaining its original reference to movements of dancing.

“You dance very nicely,” she murmurs. “Yes, for a man who has not tripped the light fantastic for years.” (Archibald C. Gunter, Miss Dividends, 1892)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.revelry - unrestrained merrymakingrevelry - unrestrained merrymaking    
jollification, merrymaking, conviviality - a boisterous celebration; a merry festivity
binge, tear, bout, bust - an occasion for excessive eating or drinking; "they went on a bust that lasted three days"
booze-up, carousal, carouse, toot, bender - revelry in drinking; a merry drinking party
debauch, debauchery, drunken revelry, bacchanalia, saturnalia, bacchanal, orgy, riot - a wild gathering involving excessive drinking and promiscuity
whoopee - noisy and boisterous revelry


noun merrymaking, partying, fun, celebration, rave (Brit. slang), spree, festivity, beano (Brit. slang), debauch, debauchery, carouse, jollity, saturnalia, roistering, rave-up (Brit. slang), jollification, carousal, hooley or hoolie (chiefly Irish & N.Z.) The sounds of revelry are getting louder.


1. The act of showing joyful satisfaction in an event:
celebration, festivity, merrymaking, rejoicing, revel (often used in plural).
2. Joyful, exuberant activity:
مَرَحٌ صاخِب، عَرْبَدَه
âlemçalıp oynama


[ˈrevlrɪ] Njuerga f, parranda f, jarana f; (organized) → fiestas fpl, festividades fpl
the spirit of revelryel espíritu de festivo


[ˈrɛvəlri] nfestivités fpl


n usu plFestlichkeit f


[ˈrɛvlrɪ] nbaldoria


(ˈrevl) past tense, past participle ˈrevelled , (American) ˈreveled verb
(with in) to take great delight in something. He revels in danger.
(usually in plural) noisy, lively enjoyment. midnight revels.
ˈreveller noun
ˈrevelryplural ˈrevelries noun
(often in plural) noisy, lively enjoyment. midnight revelries.
References in classic literature ?
There has been much howling and ungodly revelry, together with such sounds as it is profanity to utter, in their habitations within the past hour, so much so, in truth, that I have fled to the Delawares in search of peace.
In the fullness of their revelry, they fluttered, chirping and frolicking from bush to bush, and tree to tree, capricious from the very profusion and variety around them.
When the revelry of his companions had mounted to its height, this man slipped away unobserved, and I saw no more of him till he became my comrade on the sea.
And thus, while the one ship went cheerily before the breeze, the other stubbornly fought against it; and so the two vessels parted; the crew of the Pequod looking with grave, lingering glances towards the receding Bachelor; but the Bachelor's men never heeding their gaze for the lively revelry they were in.
The brick house did not speedily become a sort of wayside inn, a place of innocent revelry and joyous welcome; but the missionary company was an entering wedge, and Miranda allowed one spare bed to be made up "in case anything should happen," while the crystal glasses were kept on the second from the top, instead of the top shelf, in the china closet.
From the village were heard the distant sounds of revelry, mixed occasionally with loud laughter, sometimes broken by screams, and sometimes by wild strains of distant music.
One evening Miss Wilson, going downstairs alone to her private wine cellar, was arrested near the kitchen by sounds of revelry, and, stopping to listen, overheard the castanet dance (which reminded her of the emphasis with which Agatha had snapped her fingers at Mrs.
Wine-stained moments on the wing, Moonlit hours go luting by, She who leads the flight of Spring Leads the midnight revelry.
The prisoner's first feeling was of joy at again breathing the pure air -- for air is freedom; but he soon sighed, for he passed before La Reserve, where he had that morning been so happy, and now through the open windows came the laughter and revelry of a ball.
Some youths and maidens were of soberer garb, yet well maintained their places in the irregular throng by the expression of wild revelry upon their features.
The wares and merchandise were quickly opened, and as quickly disposed of to trappers and Indians; the usual excitement and revelry took place, after which all hands began to disperse to their several destinations.
On the following day, hearing none of those noisy indications of revelry, I concluded that the inhuman feast was terminated; and feeling a kind of morbid curiosity to discover whether the Ti might furnish any evidence of what had taken place there, I proposed to Kory-Kory to walk there.