1. Either of two chiefly domesticated ruminant mammals of the genus Camelus, the Bactrian camel or the dromedary, having a humped back and long neck, and used in northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia as a beast of burden and a source of wool, milk, and meat.
2. A device used to raise sunken objects, consisting of a hollow structure that is submerged, attached tightly to the object, and pumped free of water. Also called caisson.
3. Sports A spin in figure skating that is performed in an arabesque or modified arabesque position.
4. A tan or yellowish brown.
[Middle English, from Old English and from Anglo-Norman cameil, both from Latin camēlus, from Greek kamēlos, of Semitic origin; see gml1 in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.