cam·​el | \ ˈka-məl How to pronounce camel (audio) \
plural camels

Definition of camel

1 : either of two large ruminant (see ruminant entry 1) mammals (genus Camelus) that have one or two large humps of stored fat on the back and are used as draft and saddle animals in desert regions especially of Africa and Asia:
a : the one-humped camel (C. dromedarius) extant only as a domestic or feral animal : dromedary
b : the 2-humped camel (C. bactrianus synonym C. ferus) of desert and steppe regions of northwestern China and southwestern Mongolia : bactrian camel
2 : a watertight structure used especially to lift submerged ships
3 : a light yellowish brown
4a : camel hair sense 2 "… So we're going to look for more luxury fabrics—cashmere, camel, alpaca and … lambswools."— Paul Diamond usually used before another noun a genuine camel coat
b : leather made from the skin of a camel They all have four-digit price tags and are crafted from luxe leathers like buffalo, calfskin and camel.— Georgina Safe usually used before another noun camel leather

Illustration of camel

Illustration of camel

camel 1: 1 dromedary, 2 Bactrian camel

Examples of camel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But who can resist a language with 11 words for love, five gradations of swearing and close to 100 words describing a camel? John Malathronas, CNN, "Which languages are easiest -- and most difficult -- for native English speakers to learn?," 21 Apr. 2021 No delegate came into the Convention with a plan to build Congress as it was actually built, so the institution is reminiscent of the old saw that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Jay Cost, National Review, "In Defense of the Senate," 21 Mar. 2021 She was previously photographed in standout looks including a striking leopard-print caftan from Celine and a classic camel Max Mara coat with prim white gloves. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Gaga Wears a White Suit and Some Serious Platform Heels in Rome," 4 Mar. 2021 Instead of a horse, Lurie Mattie rides a camel, his travels across the West inspired by the real-life United States Camel Corps. Anna North, The Atlantic, "Wide Open Spaces. Very Different Characters.," 28 Feb. 2021 To survive life in the desert, a camel needs both sweat and fur. Corryn Wetzel, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why This New Technology Inspired by Camel Fur Is Super Cool," 11 Nov. 2020 The waistband is double-layered to add sucking-in structure to your figure, and a center seam ensures there’s no unwanted camel toe. SELF, "Your Favorite Spanx Leggings Are 50% Off Today Only," 9 Apr. 2021 And when Covid-19 forced safety net hospitals to cancel elective procedures and make large purchases of personal protective equipment and other tools to treat patients presenting with the virus, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Rita Numerof, Forbes, "What Mercy Hospital’s $1 Sale Says About Safety Nets’ Future," 9 Apr. 2021 The Duchess of Cambridge appeared in East London wearing camel head-to-toe. Eliza Huber,, "Kate Middleton’s All-Camel Look Is A Lesson In Monochrome Dressing," 19 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'camel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of camel

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for camel

Middle English, from Old English & Anglo-French, from Latin camelus, from Greek kamēlos, of Semitic origin; akin to Hebrew gāmāl camel

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Time Traveler for camel

Time Traveler

The first known use of camel was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Camel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for camel



English Language Learners Definition of camel

: a large animal of Africa and Asia that has a long neck and one or two large humps on its back and that is often used for desert travel


cam·​el | \ ˈka-məl How to pronounce camel (audio) \

Kids Definition of camel

: a large animal that has one or two large humps on its back and is used in the deserts of Asia and Africa for carrying passengers and loads

More from Merriam-Webster on camel

Nglish: Translation of camel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of camel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about camel

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