carats

carat

[kar-uht]
noun
1.
a unit of weight in gemstones, 200 milligrams (about 3 grains of troy or avoirdupois weight). Abbreviation: c., ct.

Origin:
1545–55; < Medieval Latin carratus (used by alchemists) < Arabic qīrāṭ weight of 4 grains < Greek kerátion carob bean, weight of 3.333 grains, literally, little horn, equivalent to kerat- (stem of kéras) horn + -ion diminutive suffix

carat, caret, carrot, karat.
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World English Dictionary
carat (ˈkærət)
 
n
1.  a measure of the weight of precious stones, esp diamonds. It was formerly defined as 3.17 grains, but the international carat is now standardized as 0.20 grams
2.  Usual US spelling: karat a measure of the proportion of gold in an alloy, expressed as the number of parts of gold in 24 parts of the alloy
 
[C16: from Old French, from Medieval Latin carratus, from Arabic qīrāt weight of four grains, carat, from Greek keration a little horn, from keras horn]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

carat
1469, from M.Fr. carat, from It. carato, from Arabic qirat "pod, husk, weight of 4 grains," from Gk. keration "carob seed," lit. "little horn" dim. of keras "horn." Carob beans were a standard for weighing small quantities. As a measure of diamond weight, from 1575. The Gk. measure was the equivalent
of the Roman siliqua, which was one-twentyfourth of a golden solidus of Constantine; hence the word took on a sense of "a proportion of one twentyfourth" and became a measure of gold purity (1555). Eighteen carat gold is eighteen parts gold, six parts alloy. It is unlikely that the carat was ever a measure of weight for gold.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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