Definitions

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

  • n. A combustible gas, chiefly methane, occurring naturally in mines from the decomposition of coal.
  • n. The explosive mixture of firedamp and air.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An inflammable gas (mostly methane) found in coal mines; forms an explosive mixture with air.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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.

from The 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.

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

  • n. a mixture of gases (mostly methane) that form in coal mines and become explosive when mixed with air

Etymologies

fire +‎ damp (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A continuous struggle against the dangers of landslips, fires, inundations, explosions of firedamp, like claps of thunder.

    The Underground City

  • 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.

    The Underground City

  • 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.

    The Underground City

  • 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.

    Journey to the Interior of the Earth

  • 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.

    Organizing for Global Growth

  • If the firedamp were not burned off, the pit would close.

    A Place Called Freedom

  • Formerly the concentration of firedamp had been much lower, a slow seep rather than a sudden buildup.

    A Place Called Freedom

  • 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.

    A Place Called Freedom

  • Mack wrapped the boy in the wet blanket, saying: "There's firedamp, Wullie, we've got to get out!"

    A Place Called Freedom

  • Ratchett. as manager of the pits, had come to report the firedamp blast.

    A Place Called Freedom

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