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Borrowing from French caramel, from Spanish caramelo, from Latin calamellus, from cannamellis, which is either a compound of canna + mellis or possibly a borrowing from Arabic.



caramel (countable and uncountable, plural caramels)

  1. A smooth, chewy, sticky confection made by heating sugar and other ingredients until the sugars polymerize and become sticky.
  2. A (sometimes hardened) piece of this confection.
  3. A yellow-brown color.

Usage notes[edit]

Both the two syllable and the three syllable pronunciations are very common in all regions of the United States, but the trisyllabic pronunciation is more common than the disyllabic one in the South (excluding western Texas), northern New Jersey, eastern New York and New England, while the disyllabic one is more common than the trisyllabic one in other regions.[1]

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]



caramel (not comparable)

  1. Of a yellow-brown color.
    • 2001, Nicole Sconiers, California Schemin': The Black Woman's Guide to Surviving in LA
      Every time I saw this caramel cutie, she was working on a new proposal or business plan or flyer to promote herself and her event coordinating business.


caramel (third-person singular simple present caramels, present participle caramelling, simple past and past participle caramelled)

  1. (transitive, cooking, dated) To caramelize.
    • 1900, M. M. Mallock, The Economics of Modern Cookery: Or, A Younger Son's Cookery Book
      To turn out, place the dish over the mould, and invert both together, when, if the caramelling has been complete, the pudding should slip out without any difficulty at all.



  1. ^ Dialect Survey map 1, showing that both pronunciations are common in all regions, and map 2, showing which regions the di- and tri-syllabic pronunciations predominate in



From Spanish caramelo.


caramel m (plural caramels)

  1. caramel, fudge

Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]