carat









carat


noun

  1. a unit of weight in gemstones, 200 milligrams (about 3 grains of troy or avoirdupois weight). Abbreviation: c., ct.
  2. karat.

noun

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

noun

  1. 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
  2. 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

noun

  1. 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
n.

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.

n.

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.”

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