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 noun a 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 noun camel 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 Her husband and his sister, Mary, were waiting at the Missouri Pacific Depot for the bride, who wore a camel-hair coat and a dress made of parachute silk. Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, 27 Dec. 2021 In 2018, the monarch famously wore a Burberry headscarf for an appearance at King's Lynn railway station in Norfolk, and staved off the December chill by pairing it with a chic camel coat. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 9 Sep. 2022 If this doesn’t happen naturally, the goader will make sure to add the final straw to break the camel's back. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 10 July 2022 Was there a specific race in mind or moment during a signup that broke the camel's back? Sean Abrams, Men's Health, 14 June 2022 Seth was mishandled several times, lastly by Gretchen, and that was, in a lot of ways, the straw that broke the camel's back. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 7 May 2022 And so for the folks who are reluctant to go back to the office, that's one more straw on the camel's back. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 19 Apr. 2022 The pair dip the tortillas in the stew’s layer of beef fat before tossing them on the griddle, which gives them a vibrant color somewhere between a camel overcoat and an orange traffic cone: the mark of the genuine article. New York Times, 17 Dec. 2021 The color palette is a culmination of signature Cipriani hues with a mix of blue tones and warm camel. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 17 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near camel



camel's hay

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Last Updated

26 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Camel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for camel


cam·​el | \ ˈka-məl How to pronounce camel (audio) \

Kids Definition of camel

: a large hoofed 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

More from Merriam-Webster on camel

Nglish: Translation of camel for Spanish Speakers

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


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