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[kar-uh-muh l, -mel, kahr-muh l] /ˈkær ə məl, -ˌmɛl, ˈkɑr məl/
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.
Origin of caramel
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for caramel
  • 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.
  • The simple sauce is easy to prepare and turns a beautiful caramel color.
  • Pour the caramel into the cake pan, tilting it so the caramel coats the bottom.
  • The apples bake in a rich, caramel sauce making it even more special.
  • The caramel is done when it becomes a uniform honey brown color.
  • Over the pudding hovers a thin layer of caramel with an audaciously generous sprinkling of sea salt.
  • Cook over high heat, without stirring, until all the sugar turns caramel.
British Dictionary definitions for caramel


/ˈkærəməl; -ˌmɛl/
burnt sugar, used for colouring and flavouring food
a chewy sweet made from sugar, butter, milk, etc
See also crème caramel
Word Origin
C18: from French, from Spanish caramelo, of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for caramel

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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