noun (1)

variant spelling of

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


noun (2)
car·​at | \ ˈker-ət How to pronounce carat (audio) , ˈka-rət \

Definition of carat (Entry 2 of 2)

: a unit of weight for precious stones equal to 200 milligrams

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Frequently Asked Questions About carat

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: Noun In 2013, Namibian diamonds were valued at $805 per carat, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Kevin Lui, Time, "Donald Trump Said 'Nambia' When He Meant Namibia. Here Are 4 Things to Know About It," 21 Sep. 2017 Modern engagement rings with a diamond of 1-carat or more are supposed to come with a certificate from a gem lab outlining the 4Cs: color, cut, clarity and carat weight. Marion Fasel, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need To Know About Buying a Vintage Engagement Ring," 11 Aug. 2017 And the exterior styling is as subtle as four-carat diamond cufflinks. Mark Maynard,, "2017 Bentley Mulsanne: A battle hymn of tradition and stoic provenance," 11 Aug. 2017 The stuff that gives us a dreamy escape into a fantasy world of princes, princesses, ball gowns, and million-carat crowns, right? Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Prince Henrik of Denmark Doubles Down on Pettiness, Gives Queen Wife an Ultimatum," 9 Aug. 2017 Last year, Las Vegas resident Qui Nguyen bested the competition to take home more than $8 million and the bracelet made from 427 grams of white and yellow gold and more than 2,000 diamonds and rubies totaling more than 44 carats. Washington Post, "Final table set for World Series of Poker Main Event," 18 July 2017 The lower grip has 15 small diamonds around a three-carat ruby. Rick Montgomery, kansascity, "Swords worth nearly $1 million stolen from Truman Library in 1978 remain missing," 16 July 2017 This week, the same piece - which turned out to be a 26.29 carat diamond ring - sold at Sotheby's auction house for $847,667. Carol Robinson,, "16 dogs killed in overnight Birmingham house fire; 4 adults and 4 more dogs escaped unharmed," 9 June 2017 Anyone who doesn't shy away from the spotlight will enjoy wearing this 5.6 carat stone ($61,820, Lauren Smith, House Beautiful, "Padparadscha Sapphires Are the Next Big Trend for Engagement Rings," 31 May 2017

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

Noun (2)

1555, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for carat

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

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Time Traveler for carat

Time Traveler

The first known use of carat was in 1555

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Statistics for carat

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Carat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for carat


car·​at | \ ˈker-ət How to pronounce carat (audio) \

Kids Definition of carat

: a unit of weight for gemstones (as diamonds) equal to 200 milligrams

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More from Merriam-Webster on carat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carat

Spanish Central: Translation of carat

Nglish: Translation of carat for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about carat

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