[kar-uh-muhl, -mel, kahr-muhl]
a liquid made by cooking sugar until it changes color, used for coloring and flavoring food.
a kind of chewy candy, commonly in small blocks, made from sugar, butter, milk, etc.
a yellowish brown or tan color.

1715–25; < French < Spanish or Portuguese caramelo < Late Latin calamellus little reed (by dissimilation), equivalent to calam(us) reed (see calamus) + -ellus diminutive suffix; meaning changed by association with Medieval Latin cannamella, canna mellis, etc., sugar cane, equivalent to Latin canna cane + mel honey (genitive mellis) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
caramel (ˈkærəməl, -ˌmɛl)
1.  burnt sugar, used for colouring and flavouring food
2.  a chewy sweet made from sugar, butter, milk, etc
[C18: from French, from Spanish caramelo, of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1725, from Fr. caramel "burnt sugar," ult. from M.L. cannamellis, traditionally from L. canna (see cane) + mellis "honey;" though some give the M.L. word an Arabic origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


candy substance obtained by boiling sugar to or beyond approximately 240 F (115 C), at which point its mass takes on a slightly yellowish colour and pleasantly burnt smell.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Heat oil and sugar in a wok over medium heat until sugar melts, then raise the
  heat and stir until sugar turns caramel brown.
Most desserts made with caramel fall into this category.
Mix until the cream cheese dissolves, then whisk this mixture back into the
  caramel sauce.
Pour caramel into prepared pan and let cool to room temperature.
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