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

rev′el·rous (-rəs) adj.
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.


n, pl -ries
noisy or unrestrained merrymaking
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈrɛv əl ri)

n., pl. -ries.
boisterous festivity.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



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)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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, riot - a wild gathering involving excessive drinking and promiscuity
whoopee - noisy and boisterous revelry
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. The act of showing joyful satisfaction in an event:
celebration, festivity, merrymaking, rejoicing, revel (often used in plural).
2. Joyful, exuberant activity:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
مَرَحٌ صاخِب، عَرْبَدَه
âlemçalıp oynama


[ˈrevlrɪ] Njuerga f, parranda f, jarana f; (organized) → fiestas fpl, festividades fpl
the spirit of revelryel espíritu de festivo
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈrɛvəlri] nfestivités fpl
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


n usu plFestlichkeit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈrɛvlrɪ] nbaldoria
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(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.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
[ A burst of revelry from the forecastle.] Oh, God!
Gathering in Green River valley Visitings and feastings of leaders Rough wassailing among the trappers Wild blades of the mountains Indian belles Potency of bright beads and red blankets Arrival of supplies Revelry and extravagance Mad wolves The lost Indian
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.
Few travellers that have visited Canada some thirty years since, in the days of the M'Tavishes, the M'Gillivrays, the M'Kenzies, the Frobishers, and the other magnates of the Northwest, when the company was in all its glory, but must remember the round of feasting and revelry kept up among these hyperborean nabobs.
Perhaps, from the casement, standing hand-in-hand, they were watching the calm moonlight on the river, while from the distant halls the boisterous revelry floated in broken bursts of faint-heard din and tumult.
Of course Shelley's mind was full of the sanctity of the moment, and indignant that "the hour for which the years did sigh" should thus be broken in upon by vulgar revelry; but while we may sympathise with his view, and admit to the full the sacredness, not to say the solemnity, of the marriage ceremony, yet it is to be hoped that it still retains a naturally mirthful side, of which such public merriment is but the crude expression.
The blacksmiths from a neighboring smithy, hearing the sounds of revelry in the tavern and supposing it to have been broken into, wished to force their way in too and a fight in the porch had resulted.
The King's party, however, had no suspicion that an attack was imminent, and, in direct contrast to the methods of the baronial troops, had spent the preceding night in drunken revelry, so that they were quite taken by surprise.
A back door was partly open, as if by neglect, and their first thought was that the authors of the awful revelry might have escaped.
The alcohol, shrewdly blended with water, is handed to me, and soon I am caught up in the revelry, with maggots crawling in my brain and John Barleycorn whispering to me that life is big, and that we are all brave and fine--free spirits sprawling like careless gods upon the turf and telling the two-by- four, cut-and-dried, conventional world to go hang.
One night there were sounds of revelry in the big brick tenement- house next door but one to McGary's Family Cafe.
He was passing down a mean street, when from an alley close at hand some shouts of revelry arose, and there came straggling forth a dozen madcaps, whooping and calling to each other, who, parting noisily, took different ways and dispersed in smaller groups.