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or car·a·velle  (kăr′ə-vĕl′) also car·vel (kär′vəl, -vĕl′)
Any of several types of small, light sailing ships, especially one with two to four masts and lateen sails used by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 1400s and 1500s.

[French caravelle, from Old French, from Old Portuguese caravela, diminutive of cáravo, ship, from Late Latin cārabus, a small wicker boat, from Late Greek kārabos, light ship, from Greek, horned beetle.]


(ˈkærəˌvɛl) or


(Nautical Terms) a two- or three-masted sailing ship, esp one with a broad beam, high poop deck, and lateen rig that was used by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries
[C16: from Portuguese caravela, diminutive of caravo ship, ultimately from Greek karabos crab, horned beetle]


(ˈkær əˌvɛl)

also carvel

a small Spanish or Portuguese sailing vessel of the Middle Ages and later, usu. lateen-rigged on two or three masts.
[1520–30; < Middle French car(a)velle < Portuguese caravela]


[kærəˈvel] Ncarabela f


nKaravelle f
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References in periodicals archive ?
Then they waged war, after which a French ship sank a Portuguese caravel.
The impressive arched chestnut ceiling in the vast banqueting hall is said to be modelled on the upturned hull of a Portuguese caravel, thereby prompting a debate on Portugal's maritime history and whether they made the most of their position or just made other countries - like England, perhaps - wealthy in the process.
More varieties were brought to Europe in the 1520s, as Portuguese caravels returned from the Orient (incidentally, sweet oranges are known as "portugals" in many parts of Europe.