From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Caravel \Car"a*vel\ (k[a^]r"[.a]*v[e^]l), n. [F. caravelle (cf.
   It. caravella, Sp. carabela), fr. Sp. caraba a kind of
   vessel, fr. L. carabus a kind of light boat, fr. Gr. ka`rabos
   a kind of light ship, NGr. kara`bi ship, vessel.] [written
   also carvel and caravelle.] (Naut.)
   A name given to several kinds of vessels.
   (a) The caravel of the 16th century was a small vessel with
       broad bows, high, narrow poop, four masts, and lateen
       sails. Columbus commanded three caravels on his great
   (b) A Portuguese vessel of 100 or 150 tons burden.
   (c) A small fishing boat used on the French coast.
   (d) A Turkish man-of-war.
       [1913 Webster]
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