WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
car•a•vel  (karə vel′),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. Nautical, Naval Termsa small Spanish or Portuguese sailing vessel of the Middle Ages and later, usually lateen-rigged on two or three masts.
Also,  carvel. 
  • Greek kárabos skiff, crayfish) + -ela diminutive suffix
  • Late Latin carabus a small wicker boat
  • Portuguese caravela, equivalent. to cárav(o) kind of ship (
  • Middle French car(a)velle
  • 1520–30


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

caravel /ˈkærəˌvɛl/, carvel n
  1. a two- or three-masted sailing ship, esp one with a broad beam, high poop deck, and lateen rig that was used by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries
Etymology: 16th Century: from Portuguese caravela, diminutive of caravo ship, ultimately from Greek karabos crab, horned beetle



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