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 nouna 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 nouncamel 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 Mike Pence’s reference to Soleimani’s involvement in 9/11 is as detached from reality as Emma’s vision of Roman ruins bordering a forest of tigers, camels, swans, sultans and English ladies. Susanna Lee, The Conversation, "We’re living in the bizarre world that Flaubert envisioned," 10 Jan. 2020 The camels, up to 10,000, will be shot from gunmen in helicopters on an order from Aboriginal leaders in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara, according to the Independent. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Officials to kill up to 10,000 water-guzzling camels in Australia," 7 Jan. 2020 In Syria, children wait for presents from the youngest of the three wise men’s camels, not Santa. National Geographic, "How Christmas is celebrated around the world," 23 Dec. 2019 That trade, by camel, donkey and boat, channeled silver, olive oil and wine from the Mediterranean to cities along the Indian Ocean, which in turn brought back exported iron, glass beads and fruits. Andrew Lawler, Smithsonian, "Church Unearthed in Ethiopia Rewrites the History of Christianity in Africa," 11 Dec. 2019 Fulcher said the police department originally thought the camel, cow and donkey belonged to the Tanganyika Wildlife Park, a Kansas zoo. Jordan Culver, USA TODAY, "'Halfway towards a live nativity': A camel, cow and donkey were found wandering together on a Kansas road," 20 Nov. 2019 Ruminants, which include cattle, sheep, goats, deer, elk, giraffes, yaks, antelope, bison and camels, have a separate large stomach compartment, the rumen. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Making the best of a stinky situation," 17 Nov. 2019 The menu will include beef, buffalo, wagyu, turkey, chicken and vegan burgers as well as a rotating offering of meats such as elk, ostrich, camel, venison, rabbit and duck. Austin Fuller,, "‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ restaurant to serve exotic meat at Winter Park store," 23 Oct. 2019 Alongside her mom Doria, just as stylish as her daughter in head-to-toe camel, and husband Prince Harry, Markle hosted the community kitchen cooks and other guests at Kensington Palace. The Editors, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Casually Helps Serve Food to Guests at Her Charity Cookbook Launch," 20 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for camel

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Camel.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for camel


How to pronounce camel (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on camel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with camel

Spanish Central: Translation of camel

Nglish: Translation of camel for Spanish Speakers

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

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a feeling of well-being or elation

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