car·​a·​mel | \ ˈkär-məl How to pronounce caramel (audio) ; ˈker-ə-məl How to pronounce caramel (audio) , ˈka-rə-, -ˌmel \

Definition of caramel

1 : a usually firm to brittle, golden-brown to dark brown substance that has a sweet, nutty, buttery, or bitter flavor, is obtained by heating sugar at high temperature, and used especially as a coloring and flavoring agent Caramel is an ingredient in many candies.
2 : a firm, chewy, usually caramel-flavored candy made with sugar, cream, corn syrup, and butter a bag of caramels

Examples of caramel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Tahini gets stirred into the caramel, giving the cookie an extra hit of sesame flavor. Washington Post, "8 sweet and savory shortbread cookies to pair with tea, coffee or wine," 21 Dec. 2020 The only additive is a little vegetable oil to keep the caramel from bubbling over. New York Times, "Colombians Ask: Who Would Dare Patent Panela?," 26 Jan. 2021 The pork’s fat layers had a cottony, soft give to them and had fully absorbed the caramel’s flavors. Soleil Ho,, "S.F.’s dorky new Viet pop-up is home-cooking nostalgia at its caramel-braised best," 10 Dec. 2020 Pour the caramel sauce over the snack mix in the large bowl., "Recipe: Smoked Sweet and Spicy Chex Party Mix," 14 Dec. 2020 Bake it for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to distribute the caramel. Beth Segal, cleveland, "POP UP! How to create that perfect tub of movie popcorn and six ways to make it even better," 5 Nov. 2020 Salt also works to balance sweetness, as in sea salt caramel. Popular Science, "There’s a science to food pairing, and you can learn it here," 22 Oct. 2020 The coconut flavor addition works well with the base beer, adding sweet nuttiness to the caramel and whiskey. Star Tribune, "Boozy, barrel-aged beers perfect for cold weather," 16 Dec. 2020 What emerged is a bourbon that has a strong caramel and almond aroma upfront with hints of dark fruits, cherry, chocolate and subtle spice. Kathryn Gregory, The Courier-Journal, "Maker's Mark crafts first-of-its-kind blended bourbon using 37 different private recipes," 26 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caramel.' 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 caramel

1702, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for caramel

French, from Spanish caramelo, from Portuguese, icicle, caramel, from Late Latin calamellus small reed — more at shawm

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Time Traveler for caramel

Time Traveler

The first known use of caramel was in 1702

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Statistics for caramel

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Caramel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for caramel



English Language Learners Definition of caramel

: a light brown candy made from butter, sugar, and milk or cream
: sugar that is cooked until it is burnt and that is used to give color and flavor to food
: a light brown color


car·​a·​mel | \ ˈkär-məl How to pronounce caramel (audio) , ˈker-ə-məl \

Kids Definition of caramel

1 : a firm chewy candy
2 : burnt sugar used for coloring and flavoring


car·​a·​mel | \ ˈkar-ə-məl How to pronounce caramel (audio) , -ˌmel; ˈkär-məl How to pronounce caramel (audio) \

Medical Definition of caramel

: an amorphous brittle brown and somewhat bitter substance obtained by heating sugar and used as a coloring and flavoring agent

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More from Merriam-Webster on caramel

Nglish: Translation of caramel for Spanish Speakers

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

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