Originally a unit of weight, karat is now used as a unit of purity or quality of gold. Pure gold is 24 karat or 1000 fine and a gold alloy that contains 75% gold is 18 karat or 750 fine. The term karat was used in medieval times as a measure of the proportion of gold in a German coin called a mark that weighed 24 carat.
Synonyms and Related Terms
k; carat (secondary spelling for gold purity); carat (Fr.); Karat (Deut.); karaat (Ned.); carate (Port.)
Resources and Citations
- Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
- The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
- Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: "Karat." Accessed 2 Sept. 2004.