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1725, from French caramel "burnt sugar" (17c.), via Old Spanish caramel (modern caramelo), ultimately from Medieval Latin cannamellis, traditionally from Latin canna (see cane (n.)) + mellis, genitive of mel "honey" (see Melissa). But some give the Medieval Latin word an Arabic origin, or trace it to Latin calamus "reed, cane."
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.