Cam"el (?), n. [Oe. camel, chamel, OF. camel, chamel, F. chameau L. camelus, fr. Gr. ; of Semitic origin; cf. Heb. gamal, Ar. jamal. Cf. As. camel, fr. L. camelus.]
A large ruminant used in Asia and Africa for carrying burdens and for riding. The camel is remarkable for its ability to go a long time without drinking. Its hoofs are small, and situated at the extremities of the toes, and the weight of the animal rests on the callous. The dromedary (Camelus dromedarius) has one bunch on the back, while the Bactrian camel (C. Bactrianus) has two. The llama, alpaca, and vicuna, of South America, belong to a related genus (Auchenia).
A watertight structure (as a large box or boxes) used to assist a vessel in passing over a shoal or bar or in navigating shallow water. By admitting water, the camel or camels may be sunk and attached beneath or at the sides of a vessel, and when the water is pumped out the vessel is lifted.
Camel bird Zool., the ostrich. -- Camel locust Zool., the mantis. -- Camel's thorn Bot., a low, leguminous shrub (Alhagi maurorum) of the Arabian desert, from which exudes a sweetish gum, which is one of the substances called manna.
© Webster 1913.