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or carat

[kar-uh t] /ˈkær ət/
a unit for measuring the fineness of gold, pure gold being 24 karats fine.
Abbreviation: k., kt.
Origin of karat
1550-60; spelling variant of carat
Can be confused
carat, caret, carrot, karat. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for karat
Historical Examples
  • It is now on the market as kunzite, and a cut stone of one karat in weight sells for fifty dollars and more.

    The Heritage of the Hills Arthur P. Hankins
  • "You're solid, fourteen karat gold, Slady," he finally said.

    Tom Slade at Black Lake Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • Selim bought her last winter for a ten karat ruby and a pint of sapphires.

    The Man From Brodney's George Barr McCutcheon
  • O'Reilly's judgment proved to be good, as, when weighed, it was found to be of 22 karat.

  • It's like a fellow handing out a twenty-four karat gold bar to a rube by mistake, under the impression it only looks like one.

    Flying U Ranch B. M. Bower
  • Gold leaf should be 18 to 22 karat, and neither aluminum nor silver leaf should be used.

    Library Bookbinding Arthur Low Bailey
British Dictionary definitions for karat


(US & Canadian) a measure of the proportion of gold in an alloy, expressed as the number of parts of gold in 24 parts of the alloy Also spelt (in Britain and certain other countries) carat
Word Origin
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 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 karat

variant of carat (q.v.). In U.S., karat is used for "proportion of fine gold in an alloy" and carat for "weight of a precious stone."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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