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1580s, from Middle French caravane, from Old French carvane, carevane "caravan" (13c.), or Medieval Latin caravana, picked up during the Crusades from Persian karwan "group of desert travelers" (which Klein connects to Sanskrit karabhah "camel"). Used in English for "vehicle" 17c., especially for a covered cart. Hence, in modern British use (from 1930s), often a rough equivalent of the U.S. mobile home.