cam·​el ˈka-məl How to pronounce camel (audio)
plural camels
: 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:
: the one-humped camel (C. dromedarius) extant only as a domestic or feral animal : dromedary
: the 2-humped camel (C. bactrianus synonym C. ferus) of desert and steppe regions of northwestern China and southwestern Mongolia : bactrian camel
: a watertight structure used especially to lift submerged ships
: a light yellowish brown
: 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
: 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
  • 1 dromedary
  • 2 Bactrian camel

Examples of camel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Banana Republic Pura wool cashmere What's better than a timeless camel coat? Porter Simmons, Vogue, 24 Nov. 2023 Lin rides a camel in the desert after meeting a group of Bedouins by a well in the desert. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 22 Nov. 2023 The most popular are short and candid—a teapot brewing, an affectionate camel, or the shifting hues of a desert sunrise. Emma Pearson, Condé Nast Traveler, 20 Nov. 2023 It’s surrounded by a spacious sectional from Room & Board with two Matra camel velvet lounge chairs from CB2 across from it. Caron Golden, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Nov. 2023 This fanny pack comes in 12 stylish colors, from onyx to camel, dune, dark moss, heather gray, and storm. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 26 Oct. 2023 She was photographed with her husband, Dax Shepard, wearing a cozy fall look with a black leather purse slung across her body over a long camel coat. Tanisha Pina, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2023 Share [Findings] Researchers who wear orange catch more anoles, and Australia began culling thousands of camels with helicopter snipers. Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, Harper's Magazine, 8 Nov. 2023 Over in Toronto, the camel brown sneakers with trendy white outsoles have won over shoppers, while the all black shoes are all the rage in New York. Kylee McGuigan, Travel + Leisure, 8 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'camel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near camel

Cite this Entry

“Camel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


cam·​el ˈkam-əl How to pronounce camel (audio)
: either of two large cud-chewing mammals used for carrying burdens and for riding in desert regions especially of Africa and Asia:
: a two-humped camel of central Asia

called also Bactrian camel

More from Merriam-Webster on camel

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!