or car·at

[kar-uh t]


a unit for measuring the fineness of gold, pure gold being 24 karats fine. Abbreviation: k., kt.

Origin of karat

First recorded in 1550–60; spelling variant of carat
Can be confusedcarat caret carrot karat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for karat

Historical Examples of karat

  • "You're solid, fourteen karat gold, Slady," he finally said.

    Tom Slade at Black Lake

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh

  • O'Reilly's judgment proved to be good, as, when weighed, it was found to be of 22 karat.

  • 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

  • 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 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 for karat

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

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