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 Once the camel’s nose was under the tent, chaos was sure to follow, argued town fathers, if to little avail. Les Standiford, Town & Country, "How Mar-a-Lago Almost Became the Kennedy and Johnson Winter White House," 1 Dec. 2019 The park offers drive an drive-through tours with animals such as giraffes, elk, camels and zebras, as well as walk-through tours and educational feedings of animals such as porcupines, kangaroos, tortoises and gibbons. Craig Shoup, USA TODAY, "Fire kills unknown number of animals at Ohio wildlife park," 29 Nov. 2019 The former camel-rustler has been steadily extending his influence over the peace process. The Economist, "Sudan’s revolution could end the conflict in Darfur," 28 Nov. 2019 Many of the waterworks have been in use for hundreds of years, since times when people crossed the desert with camels carrying spices and incense. Ian James, azcentral, "Ancient aqueducts in Oman imperiled by modern wells and climate change," 28 Nov. 2019 Stark kept traveling despite dysentery, measles, and dengue fever, at home on the back of a donkey or camel. National Geographic, "What's behind your wall?," 12 Nov. 2019 Start at the camel race track, just a 30-minute drive from the Abu Dhabi CBD. Melinda Healy, Condé Nast Traveler, "Six Best Day Trips From Abu Dhabi," 6 Nov. 2019 The history, the Sphinx, the great pyramids, camel rides through the desert and more — I was sold on Egypt, which was at the top of my list. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "Here’s What It’s Like To Travel Solo To Egypt As A Black Woman," 5 Nov. 2019 Arriving straight from his appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jeremy O. Harris, whose Slave Play is bewitching Broadway, trotted over to greet Jordan Roth, a vision in camel and diamanté. Vogue, "Interview Magazine Celebrated 50 Years and a New Book With a Cocktail-Soaked Downtown Dinner," 30 Oct. 2019

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

9 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Camel.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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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