Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


1. a public celebration in which a large group of people move through an area, often with decorated vehicles and bands playing music
2. a public celebration in which a large group of soldiers march together, or an official ceremony in which soldiers march or stand in rows

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun and verb parade were borrowed from the French ‘parade’ in the 17th century. The military meaning came first, followed later in the century by the meaning of general public celebration.


Today is St Patrick’s day, the national day of Ireland, which is normally marked on or near the day by parades, not only in Ireland but around the world. As well as being a public celebration, a parade is also an event at which soldiers march and show off their discipline and professionalism. Parade has some other meanings too, including a line of people or things; an act of showing off; and in British English it can refer to a row of shops and is sometimes used in the names of streets. The verb has a number of meanings related to public displays of one kind or another. Parade also occurs in numerous compounds  such as hit paradeparade ground and ticker tape parade. The mainly American phrase to rain on someone’s parade means to do something to stop someone enjoying something good that is happening to them.


“With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches.”
(Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations)

“I simply gotta march
My heart’s a drummer
Nobody, no, nobody
Is gonna rain on my parade!”
(Don’t Rain On My Parade by Bob Merrill and Jule Styne)

Related words

festival, fiesta, procession

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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