American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A combustible gas, chiefly methane, occurring naturally in mines from the decomposition of coal.
- n. The explosive mixture of firedamp and air.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The gas contained in coal, often given off by it in large quantities, and exploding, on ignition, when mixed with atmospheric air. Explosion takes place when, as is often the case, the gas given off by the coal consists largely of marsh-gas (light carbureted hydrogen). The composition of the gas evolved from coal is, however, very variable; in connection with the marsh-gas, oxygen, carbonic acid, and nitrogen seem to be always present. Fire-damp is a source of great danger to life in coal-mines. See
- n. mining An inflammable gas (mostly methane) found in coal mines; forms an explosive mixture with air.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. a damp consisting chiefly of light carbureted hydrogen; -- so called from its tendence to explode when mixed with atmospheric air and brought into contact with flame.
- n. See under Damp.
- n. a mixture of gases (mostly methane) that forms in coal mines and becomes explosive when mixed with air. It is a source of serious hazard in coal mining operations.
- n. a mixture of gases (mostly methane) that form in coal mines and become explosive when mixed with air
- fire + damp (Wiktionary)
“A continuous struggle against the dangers of landslips, fires, inundations, explosions of firedamp, like claps of thunder.”
“When the firedamp had accumulated in the air, so as to form a detonating mixture, the explosion occurred without being fatal, and, by often renewing this operation, catastrophes were prevented.”
“As they had expected, there was no explosion, but, what was more serious, there was not even the slight crackling which indicates the presence of a small quantity of firedamp.”
“I immediately recognised in this gallery the presence of a considerable quantity of the dangerous gas called by miners firedamp, the explosion of which has often occasioned such dreadful catastrophes.”
“On May 27, 1812, while Napoleon Bonaparte was in Paris planning his disastrous campaign into Russia, there was a gigantic firedamp explosion at Felling Pitt near Sunderland, England.”
“If the firedamp were not burned off, the pit would close.”
“Formerly the concentration of firedamp had been much lower, a slow seep rather than a sudden buildup.”
“Most likely, firedamp had accumulated in a sealed-off area of exhausted workings, then an old wall had cracked and was rapidly leaking the dreaded gas into the occupied tunnels.”
“Mack wrapped the boy in the wet blanket, saying: "There's firedamp, Wullie, we've got to get out!”
“Ratchett. as manager of the pits, had come to report the firedamp blast.”
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Coal mining has engendered fascinating subcultures in industry, labor, music, folklore, environment and energy. It has a rich vocabulary as well, and I've encountered some gorgeous mining words. I...
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