Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A unit of weight for precious stones, equal to 200 milligrams.
  • n. Variant of karat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A unit of weight for precious stones and pearls, equivalent to 200 milligrams.
  • n. Formerly, any of several units of weight, varying from 189 to 212 mg, the weight of a carob seed.
  • n. A measure of the purity of gold, pure gold being 24 carats.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The weight by which precious stones and pearls are weighed.
  • n. A twenty-fourth part; -- a term used in estimating the proportionate fineness of gold.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An old weight equal to a scruple, or the twenty-fourth part of an ounce troy.
  • n. A unit of mass formerly used in various countries for weighing gold.
  • n. Hence A twenty-fourth part: specifically used in expressing the fineness of gold when used as jewelry.
  • n. A unit of weight for precious stones, divided by jewelers into 4 grains, called diamond-grains, but equal to about 3⅙ troy grains, 151½ English carats being taken as equal to an ounce troy.
  • n. Often abbreviated car. or K.
  • To try or refine (gold).
  • n. An Arabian coin of base silver, current in Mecca, Medina, and Mocha.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the unit of measurement for the proportion of gold in an alloy; 18-karat gold is 75% gold; 24-karat gold is pure gold
  • n. a unit of weight for precious stones = 200 mg

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin quarātus, from Arabic qīrāṭ, weight of four grains, from Greek kerātion, a weight, diminutive of keras, kerāt-, horn.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle French carat, from Italian carato, from Arabic قيراط (qirāṭ, "husk"), from Ancient Greek κεράτιον (keration, "carob seed"), diminutive form of κέρας (keras, "horn"). (Wiktionary)

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