- a unit of weight in gemstones, 200 milligrams (about 3 grains of troy or avoirdupois weight). Abbreviation: c., ct.
Origin of carat
- a unit for measuring the fineness of gold, pure gold being 24 karats fine. Abbreviation: k., kt.
Origin of karat
Examples from the Web for carat
This tea caddy is rather splendid Much of the pottery is gilded in 22 carat gold leaf.New Royal China Alert
May 20, 2013
The largest D color flawless diamond ever auctioned, the 101.73 carat jewel is expected to fetch at least $20 million.'Absolute Perfection' Diamond Up for Auction
May 14, 2013
Three or four dollars a carat is a fair price at the present time.
Good moonstones are worth from three to five dollars a carat.
The carat used in weighing diamonds is 31⁄6 grains (nearly).Cooley's Practical Receipts, Volume II
The seeds are said to have been the original "carat" weight of jewellers.The Romance of Plant Life
G. F. Scott Elliot
The average weight of the native Burmese ruby is about one-eighth of a carat.The Wonder Book of Knowledge
- a measure of the weight of precious stones, esp diamonds. It was formerly defined as 3.17 grains, but the international carat is now standardized as 0.20 grams
- Usual US spelling: karat a measure of the proportion of gold in an alloy, expressed as the number of parts of gold in 24 parts of the alloy
- US and Canadian a measure of the proportion of gold in an alloy, expressed as the number of parts of gold in 24 parts of the alloyAlso spelt (in Britain and certain other countries): carat
Word Origin and History for carat
also karat, mid-15c., from Middle French carat "measure of the fineness of gold" (14c.), from Italian carato or Medieval Latin carratus, both from Arabic qirat "fruit of the carob tree," also "weight of 4 grains," from Greek keration "carob seed," also the name of a small weight of measure (one-third obol), literally "little horn" diminutive of keras "horn" (see kerato-).
Carob beans were a standard for weighing small quantities. As a measure of diamond weight, from 1570s in English. The Greek measure was the equivalent of the Roman siliqua, which was one-twentyfourth of a golden solidus of Constantine; hence karat took on a sense of "a proportion of one twentyfourth" and became a measure of gold purity (1550s). Eighteen carat gold is eighteen parts gold, six parts alloy. It is unlikely that the classical carat ever was a measure of weight for gold.
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."