General English


  • A large domesticated animal from arid regions with either one hump, Camelus dromedarius, or two, C. bactrianus, used both as a draught animal and as a source of meat and milk. The fat in the milk is very finely dispersed and cream cannot be separated from it.

Origin & History of “camel”

Naturally enough, camel is of Semitic origin: Hebrew has gāmāl, e.g., and Arabic jamal. It was a relative of these that was the source of Greek kámēlos, which passed via Latin camēlus into English as early as the mid 10th century. (It replaced a previous Old English olfend, a word – shared by other early Germanic languages – apparently based on the misconception that a camel was an elephant.).