1 of 2

noun (1)


variant spelling of karat

: a unit of fineness for gold equal to ¹/₂₄ part of pure gold in an alloy


2 of 2

noun (2)

car·​at ˈker-ət How to pronounce carat (audio)
: a unit of weight for precious stones equal to 200 milligrams

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a carat and a karat?

These two words are tricky, as one of them may refer both to the measurement of a precious stone's weight and to the purity of gold, while the other only refers to the purity of gold. Carat may be used for both, but karat is only employed in reference to gold.

What is weighed in carats?

Precious stones are weighed in carats; a single carat is equal to 200 milligrams. Carat is also a variant spelling of karat, which measures the purity (but not the weight) of gold.

How much is a carat?

If carat is serving as a variant spelling of karat, then it is measuring the fineness, rather than the weight, of gold; each carat is equal to 1/24 part of pure gold. If carat is being used in reference to precious stones, it is a unit of weight equal to 200 milligrams.

Examples of carat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The platinum necklace, a centerpiece for the star’s look, features diamonds of more than 68 total carats. Nicole Fell, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 May 2024 That specimen, weighing 17.6 carats, is nothing compared to this year’s Yellow Rose. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 14 May 2024 Her necklace alone included one diamond over 20 carats and diamonds of over 75 total carats from the Blue Book 2024: Tiffany Celéste Collection. Hedy Phillips, Peoplemag, 13 May 2024 Her jewelry is by Tiffany & Co., including a Jean Schlumberger by Tiffany Bird on a Rock ring that has a yellow diamond of over 4 carats, a white diamond of over 4 carats, and pink sapphires. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, 6 May 2024 Resting on top was a Lorraine Schwartz pink ring with over 10 carats of natural pink diamonds. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 18 Apr. 2024 Crisscrossed with more than 33 carats of brilliant- and baguette-cut diamonds, the pièce unique threads the needle between high jewelry, haute couture and watchmaking in spectacular fashion. The Editors, Robb Report, 15 Apr. 2024 The three diamonds that are the focus of the ring rest on a platinum band decorated with 18 brilliant-cut diamonds, with all the stones totaling about 4 carats. Esme Mazzeo, Peoplemag, 26 Mar. 2024 Grande paired the gown with platinum jewels by Tiffany & Co., including a diamond necklace that highlighted a morganite pendant that exceeded 14 carats. Laurie Brookins, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Mar. 2024

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

Word History


Noun (2)

Middle English carrat measure of fineness in gold, from Middle French carat measure of fineness in gold or of weight in gems, from Italian carato, from Arabic qīrāṭ bean pod, a small weight, from Greek keration carob bean, a small weight, from diminutive of kerat-, keras horn — more at horn

First Known Use

Noun (2)

1555, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of carat was in 1555

Dictionary Entries Near carat

Cite this Entry

“Carat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2

variant of karat


2 of 2 noun
car·​at ˈkar-ət How to pronounce carat (audio)
: a unit of weight for precious gems (as diamonds) equal to 200 milligrams

More from Merriam-Webster on carat

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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