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also ker·mess or kir·mess  (kûr′mĭs)
1. An outdoor fair in the Low Countries.
2. A fundraising fair or carnival.

[Dutch, from Middle Dutch kercmisse, Mass on the anniversary of a church dedication (on which day was held a yearly fair) : kerc, church (ultimately from Late Greek kūriakon, kūrikon (dōma), (house) of the lord; see church) + misse, Mass (from Late Latin missa; see Mass).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈkɜːmɪs) or


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
[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 and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


or ker•mess

(ˈkɜr mɪs)

1. (in the Low Countries) a local annual outdoor fair or festival.
2. a similar entertainment usu. for charitable purposes.
[1570–80; < Dutch, earlier ker(c)misse (kerc church + misse mass2); orig. a fair at the dedication of a church]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
But the curtain rose on the kermess scene and Richard made a sign to the stage-manager to go away.
"The Dance" (William Carlos Williams, from Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems); Paulus sets poem inspired by Pieter Breughel the Elder's painting, Peasant Dance, or "The Kermess" (Greenway, Selected Resources); 3.
The course was typical Belgium Kermess style, flat with sharp corners and 30mph racing from start to finish.
Even in domestically focussed exhibitions, the Middle Ages was associated with kermess, carnival and the oriental bazaar.
Many of the essays which Leonardo Sciascia published in Galleria were later reprinted in books, among them "Una Kermess" (1949) and "Appunti su Il Gattopardo" (1959).
This work, I believe, has potential as stage material for a literary satire, especially now when all the demons that only peeked out into the public space at the time of this ugly campaign are at the present running full force their bloody kermess on the Yugoslav political stage.
Except that the figures are undressed, the revel could be a Kermess, or peasants' fair in the Netherlands.
Stand-up comedians also perform in higher-class hotels, on terraces and in bars, and at kermesses (funfairs that last several weeks and are mainly organized during the months of July and August, when the schools are on holiday).
En parallele, les organisateurs de cette manifestation destinee aux familles montagnardes, vides de moyens et avides de bonheurs, prevoient des kermesses ludiques, des ateliers de sensibilisation, de ceremonie de degustation et des spectacles artistiques, animes par des chantres amazighs de renommee.
These small town avatars of the event often took on innocuous forms and were named fairs, kermesses, or Whitsun parades.