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or car·ack

[kar-uh k]
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  1. a merchant vessel having various rigs, used especially by Mediterranean countries in the 15th and 16th centuries; galleon.

Origin of carrack

1350–1400; Middle English carrake < Middle French carraque < Spanish carraca, perhaps back formation from Arabic qarāqīr (plural of qurqūr ship of burden < Greek kérkouros), the -īr being taken as plural ending
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for carrack

Historical Examples

  • Francisco and his bible are no more credible than the carrack and the bishop.

    The Pirate and The Three Cutters

    Frederick Marryat

  • In the sixteenth century the carrack often attained the size of 1,600 tons.

    Ancient and Modern Ships.

    George C. V. Holmes

  • In 1602 a Portuguese carrack of 1,600 tons was captured at Cezimbra.

    Ancient and Modern Ships.

    George C. V. Holmes

  • In 1594 a Spanish carrack was destroyed which had 1,100 men on board.

    Ancient and Modern Ships.

    George C. V. Holmes

  • "So I thought," pursued Mr. Carrack, rolling his eyes and heaving an infant sigh from his bosom.


    Cornelius Mathews

British Dictionary definitions for carrack


  1. a galleon sailed in the Mediterranean as a merchantman in the 15th and 16th centuries

Word Origin

C14: from Old French caraque, from Old Spanish carraca, from Arabic qarāqīr merchant ships
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

Word Origin and History for carrack


merchant ship, late 14c., from Old French caraque "large, square-rigged sailing vessel," from Spanish carraca, related to Medieval Latin carraca, Italian caracca, all of uncertain origin, perhaps from Arabic qaraqir, plural of qurqur "merchant ship." The Arabic word perhaps was from Latin carricare (see charge (v.)) or Greek karkouros "boat, pinnacle."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper