from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A piece of this substance.
  • noun A glowing or charred piece of solid fuel.
  • noun Charcoal.
  • intransitive verb To burn (a combustible solid) to a charcoal residue.
  • intransitive verb To provide with coal.
  • intransitive verb To take on coal.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun 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).
  • noun 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.
  • noun Same as slack.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb rare To burn to charcoal; to char.
  • transitive verb To mark or delineate with charcoal.
  • transitive verb To supply with coal.
  • intransitive verb To take in coal.
  • noun A thoroughly charred, and extinguished or still ignited, fragment from wood or other combustible substance; charcoal.
  • noun (Min.) 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.
  • noun See Age of Acrogens, under Acrogen.
  • noun See Anthracite.
  • noun See under Bituminous.
  • noun See under Blind.
  • noun See Lignite.
  • noun a bituminous coal, which softens and becomes pasty or semi-viscid when heated. On increasing the heat, the volatile products are driven off, and a coherent, grayish black, cellular mass of coke is left.
  • noun a very compact bituminous coal, of fine texture and dull luster. See Cannel coal.
  • noun (Geol.) a layer or stratum of mineral coal.
  • noun a structure including machines and machinery adapted for crushing, cleansing, and assorting coal.
  • noun (Geol.) a region in which deposits of coal occur. Such regions have often a basinlike structure, and are hence called coal basins. See Basin.
  • noun a variety of carbureted hydrogen, procured from bituminous coal, used in lighting streets, houses, etc., and for cooking and heating.
  • noun a man employed in carrying coal, and esp. in putting it in, and discharging it from, ships.
  • noun (Geol.) A subdivision of the carboniferous formation, between the millstone grit below and the Permian formation above, and including nearly all the workable coal beds of the world.
  • noun a general name for mineral oils; petroleum.
  • noun (Geol.) one of the remains or impressions of plants found in the strata of the coal formation.
  • noun See in the Vocabulary.
  • noun [Colloq.] to call to account; to scold or censure.
  • noun See Lignite.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable A black rock formed from prehistoric plant remains, composed largely of carbon and burned as a fuel.
  • noun countable 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.
  • noun countable A type of coal, such as bituminous, anthracite, or lignite, and grades and varieties thereof.
  • noun countable A smouldering piece of material.
  • verb To take on a supply of coal (usually of steam ships).
  • verb To be converted to charcoal.

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

  • verb take in coal


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

[Middle English col, from Old English.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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")).


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  • 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 2000

  • 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 Various

  • 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 1915

  • The next stage in coal formation is _bituminous coal_.

    The Economic Aspect of Geology 1915

  • There are gradations from bituminous coal into _anthracite coal_.

    The Economic Aspect of Geology 1915

  • 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 2009

  • 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 2009

  • 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 1987

  • 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 1863

  • 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. 2010

  • While illegal, some drivers flaunt their ability to pollute, via the behavior known as “rolling coal,” in which drivers of modified diesel trucks blow black smoke at targets of their disapproval (often Prius drivers or bicyclists).

    What Happened to Pickup Trucks? 2023

  • Especially when drivers of big trucks can “roll coal” (output clouds of exhaust) and swerve into your lane and collide with you, and not even go to jail, it gives me pause.

    Biking and public transportation in Renton and Seattle: Solving the first-mile and last-mile problems <a href=‘/aboutme/’>Tom Johnson</a> 2021


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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