Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

coal

play
noun, often attributive \ˈkōl\

Simple Definition of coal

  • : a black or brownish-black hard substance within the earth that is used as a fuel

  • : a piece of coal or charcoal especially when burning

  • : a glowing piece of wood from a fire

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of coal

  1. 1 :  a piece of glowing carbon or charred wood :  ember

  2. 2 :  charcoal 1

  3. 3 a :  a black or brownish-black solid combustible substance formed by the partial decomposition of vegetable matter without free access of air and under the influence of moisture and often increased pressure and temperature that is widely used as a natural fuel b plural British :  pieces or a quantity of the fuel broken up for burning

Examples of coal in a sentence

  1. When the coals are red, they are very hot.

  2. I toasted one last marshmallow over the coals of the campfire.



Origin and Etymology of coal

Middle English col, from Old English; akin to Old High German & Old Norse kol burning ember, Middle Irish gúal coal


First Known Use: before 12th century


2

coal

verb

Definition of coal

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to burn to charcoal :  char

  3. 2 :  to supply with coal

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to take in coal



1602

First Known Use of coal

1602



COAL Defined for Kids

coal

play
noun \ˈkōl\

Definition of coal for Students

  1. 1 :  a piece of glowing or charred wood :  ember

  2. 2 :  a black solid mineral substance that is formed by the partial decay of plant matter under the influence of moisture and often increased pressure and temperature within the earth and is mined for use as a fuel




Learn More about coal


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up coal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a representation of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

philistine melancholy frenetic lazy
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ