Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A natural dark brown to black graphitelike material used as a fuel, formed from fossilized plants and consisting of amorphous carbon with various organic and some inorganic compounds.
  • n. A piece of this substance.
  • n. A glowing or charred piece of solid fuel.
  • n. Charcoal.
  • transitive v. To burn (a combustible solid) to a charcoal residue.
  • transitive v. To provide with coal.
  • intransitive v. To take on coal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A black rock formed from prehistoric plant remains, composed largely of carbon and burned as a fuel.
  • n. A piece of coal used for burning. Note that in British English the first of the following examples would usually be used, whereas in American English the latter would.
  • n. A type of coal, such as bituminous, anthracite, or lignite, and grades and varieties thereof.
  • n. A smouldering piece of material.
  • v. To take on a supply of coal (usually of steam ships).
  • v. To be converted to charcoal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A thoroughly charred, and extinguished or still ignited, fragment from wood or other combustible substance; charcoal.
  • n. A black, or brownish black, solid, combustible substance, dug from beds or veins in the earth to be used for fuel, and consisting, like charcoal, mainly of carbon, but more compact, and often affording, when heated, a large amount of volatile matter.
  • intransitive v. To take in coal.
  • transitive v. To burn to charcoal; to char.
  • transitive v. To mark or delineate with charcoal.
  • transitive v. To supply with coal.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To burn to coal or charcoal; make into coal; char.
  • To mark or delineate with charcoal.
  • To provide with coal; furnish a supply of coal to or for: as, to coal a steamship or a locomotive.
  • To take in coal for use as fuel: as, the vessel coaled at Portsmouth.
  • n. A piece of wood or other combustible substance, either ignited or burning (a “live coal” or “glowing coal”), or burned out or charred (a “dead coal,” charcoal, cinder).
  • n. A solid and more or less distinctly stratified mineral, varying in color from dark-brown to black, brittle, combustible, and used as a fuel, not fusible without decomposition, and very insoluble.
  • n. Same as slack.
  • n.
  • n. Coal which will not fuse together and cohere in masses when burned. It is desirable that coal should do this for forge fires in certain kinds of work.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. take in coal
  • n. a hot fragment of wood or coal that is left from a fire and is glowing or smoldering
  • v. supply with coal
  • n. fossil fuel consisting of carbonized vegetable matter deposited in the Carboniferous period
  • v. burn to charcoal

Etymologies

Middle English col, from Old English.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English cole, from Old English col, from Proto-Germanic *kulan, from Proto-Indo-European *gʷol- (compare Irish gúal ‘coal’, Tocharian B śoliye ‘hearth’, Persian زغال (zuvāl) ‘live coal’), from *gʷelH- ‘to glow, burn’ (compare Lithuanian žvìlti ‘to twinkle, glow’, Sanskrit ज्वलति (jvalati, "to burn, glow")). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Other health hazards specific to underground coal mining include coal dust, which can cause ‘coal worker’s pneumoconiosis’ or anthracosis, often combined with silicosis.

    Chapter 8

  • For let me tell you, all you demobilised wallahs who know only those countries where the necessities of life were matters of private enterprise -- let me tell you that in this village, if I say that I require coal, _coal is here_, and with it the Bürgermeister inquiring politely if my needs are satisfied.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, March 12, 1919

  • There are gradations from bituminous coal into _anthracite coal_.

    The Economic Aspect of Geology

  • A variety of bituminous coal, called _cannel coal_, is characterized by an unusually high percentage of volatile matter, which causes it to ignite easily.

    The Economic Aspect of Geology

  • The next stage in coal formation is _bituminous coal_.

    The Economic Aspect of Geology

  • Google: +coal +efficiency for comparisons of old and new technology, in terms of energy produced for a given amount of coal turned to carbon dioxide.

    RealClimate

  • Coal represents the last stage of the transformation of vegetable matter and the term coal covers a wide range of heat values and moisture contents.

    2. Kilns

  • The Confederate cruiser Florida was at Bermuda repairing and taking in coal from a Confederate vessel, a supply of that article having been refused by the authorities.

    Foreign and Colonial News

  • I look forward to someone from the MSM asking Grayson directly whether coal is at present, clean.

    Think Progress » GOP Senate candidate Trey Grayson attacks Rand Paul for acknowledging coal is a dirty fossil fuel.

  • To come back to coal, which is basic to Britain's economy, thirdly, let me remind you that the decline in the number of miners and in the output of coal from the British mines had already set in before the war.

    Report on Britain

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  • His laft words, fpoken to his fervant when
    that gentleman was breaking a large hard coal,
    were 'That is a ftone, you blockhead'. He was quiet
    a twelvemonth afterwards and died in filence.

    - Peter Reading, Phrenfy, from Tom O' Bedlam's Beauties, 1981

    June 28, 2008