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
But that doesn't mean there aren't other factors to take into consideration for your wedding ring, like the types of gemstones (especially for the center stone), metals, carat weight, and setting. Gia Yetikyel, Vogue, 31 Oct. 2023 The $22,000 wrist candy is crafted from a titanium case and features a bezel set with 126 diamonds that total 1.47 carats. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 31 Oct. 2023 The Anglo American Plc’s unit’s first half profits plunged more than 60% to just $347 million, with its average selling price falling from $213 per carat to $163 per carat. Thomas Biesheuvel, Fortune, 3 Sep. 2023 Unveiled in late 2022, the extravagant wrist candy is dripping in more than 129 carats worth of diamonds that all but cover the accompanying 18-karat white gold. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 12 Oct. 2023 Or that Pharrell Williams repeatedly wears a pair of custom Tiffany & Co. glasses with over 20 carats of diamonds on them? Christian Allaire, Vogue, 5 Sep. 2023 One to two diamonds are found by park visitors every day and 563 diamonds have been registered at the park in 2023, totaling more than 89 carats. Amaris Encinas, USA TODAY, 8 Sep. 2023 By July this year, that had dropped to about $850 a carat. Thomas Biesheuvel, Fortune, 3 Sep. 2023 That stone is framed by three carats of round diamonds, with additional round diamonds along the shank. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 21 Sep. 2023 See More

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 4 Dec. 2023.

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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