Definition of camel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkaməl/


1A large, long-necked ungulate mammal of arid country, with long slender legs, broad cushioned feet, and either one or two humps on the back. Camels can survive for long periods without food or drink, chiefly by using up the fat reserves in their humps.
Example sentences
  • Long-necked giraffes and camels have the same seven neck bones as do short-necked mice and men.
  • Remnants of the herds ancestral to all domesticated camels may still survive in the deserts of central Asia.
  • After walking six miles, they find a spring, and the camels drink their fill.
1.1A fabric made from camel hair.
Example sentences
  • I changed my camel coat for a microfiber one.
  • Mohair, angora, wool, cashmere, camel, alpaca, etc. are all your allies against the wind and cold.
  • I was just as thrilled when he would come up the dugout steps with his top hat, camel coat and big cigar.
1.2A light yellowish-brown color like that of camel hair.
Example sentences
  • The whole room is a zebra pelt of black and white and that colour that has been the fashion staple for so long they've invented a dozen names for it - taupe, camel, fawn, buff.
  • Makeup corresponds with fabric colours, so go natural with camel, hues of brown and black, and accent with shades of red.
  • If you have green eyes, apply yellowish taupe, camel and heather colors.
2An apparatus for raising a sunken ship, consisting of one or more watertight chests to provide buoyancy.


Old English, from Latin camelus, from Greek kamēlos, of Semitic origin.

  • Our term for the camel comes from Greek kamēlos, which itself probably came from an Arabic or Hebrew word. When it was adopted into Old English it replaced the existing word for the animal, olfend. This sounds suspiciously like elephant, and it seems that people often got the two animals confused, not being familiar with either. A further confusion is found in camelopard, an archaic name for a giraffe, from Greek kamelopardalis, from kamēlos ‘camel’ and pardalis ‘female panther or leopard’. People thought that a giraffe's spotted skin looked like that of a leopard. See also chameleon. It was Alec Issigonis, the designer of the Morris Minor and Mini cars, who said that ‘A camel is a horse designed by a committee’.

Words that rhyme with camel

enamel, entrammel, mammal, trammel

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cam·el

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