car·​a·​vel | \ ˈker-ə-ˌvel How to pronounce caravel (audio) , ˈka-rə-, -vəl \

Definition of caravel

: any of several sailing ships specifically : a small 15th and 16th century ship that has broad bows, high narrow poop, and usually three masts with lateen or both square and lateen sails

Illustration of caravel

Illustration of caravel

Examples of caravel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But what of those murals glorifying European colonization, with Christopher Columbus sweeping down from the sky in a caravel to find half-naked Native Americans? New York Times, 25 May 2021 More than that, though, the Portuguese were carrying on their wooden caravels an entirely unfamiliar culture from those the Chinese had previously met. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 6 June 2020 Spanish caravels and a viking longboat, a moving sidewalk, the first Ferris wheel — along with people and cultures from around the globe — all turned Jackson Park and the Midway Plaisance into the world’s museum. Charles J. Johnson,, 28 June 2019 In Europe, however, small and scrappy Portugal did build small ships called caravels that could explore the African coast and later the Atlantic Ocean. Lee Roop,, 14 Mar. 2018 This caravel gave me a strange sense of peace and the feeling that there is always a story to tell, a place where to return. Andrew Katz,, 17 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caravel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of caravel

1527, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caravel

Middle French caravelle, from Old Portuguese caravela

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Time Traveler for caravel

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The first known use of caravel was in 1527

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Cite this Entry

“Caravel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for caravel


car·​a·​vel | \ ˈker-ə-ˌvel How to pronounce caravel (audio) \

Kids Definition of caravel

: a small sailing ship of the 15th and 16th centuries with a broad bow and high stern and three or four masts

More from Merriam-Webster on caravel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for caravel Encyclopedia article about caravel


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