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From Middle English karette and Middle French carotte, both from Latin carōta, from Ancient Greek καρῶτον (karôton). Doublet of carotte and related to caraway. Displaced native Middle English more, from Old English more, moru (edible root, parsnip, carrot), related to German Möhre (carrot).

  • Noun sense of "motivational tool" refers to carrot and stick.
  • Verb sense in felt manufacture refers to the orange colour of drying furs.



carrot (countable and uncountable, plural carrots)

  1. A vegetable with a nutritious, juicy, sweet root that is often orange in colour, Daucus carota, especially the subspecies sativus in the family Apiaceae.
    Synonym: (obsolete) more
  2. A shade of orange similar to the flesh of most carrots (also called carrot orange).
  3. (figurative) Any motivational tool; an incentive to do something.
    Coordinate term: stick
    • 2022 August 7, Coral Davenport, Lisa Friedman, “Five Decades in the Making: Why It Took Congress So Long to Act on Climate”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      Essentially, lawmakers replaced the sticks with carrots.
    • 2023 August 7, Paul Krugman, “Climate Is Now a Culture War Issue”, in The New York Times[2]:
      In 2022, when the Biden administration finally succeeded in passing a major climate bill, it consisted almost entirely of carrots—tax credits and subsidies for green energy.
  4. (UK, slang, derogatory) Someone from a rural background.
  5. (UK, slang) A police officer from somewhere within the British Isles, but specifically outside of Greater London.
  6. (slang) A redhead; a ginger-haired person

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carrot (third-person singular simple present carrots, present participle carroting, simple past and past participle carroted)

  1. (transitive) To treat (an animal pelt) with a solution of mercuric nitrate as part of felt manufacture.

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