noun, often attributive
car·​bon | \ ˈkär-bən How to pronounce carbon (audio) \

Definition of carbon

1 : a nonmetallic chemical element with atomic number 6 that readily forms compounds with many other elements and is a constituent of organic compounds in all known living tissues — see Chemical Elements Table
2 : a carbon rod used in an arc lamp
3a : a sheet of carbon paper

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Examples of carbon in a Sentence

a carbon of the document this new digital camera is a carbon of a well-known model costing almost twice as much
Recent Examples on the Web Mainstream Democrats no longer default to talk of modest carbon prices and tax credits. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Jamaal Bowman and the Democratic Insurgency That Could Help Save the Planet," 24 June 2020 Amazon is seeking to reach net zero in carbon emission by 2040 and plans to run on completely renewable energy by 2025. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Amazon launches a $2 billion clean energy fund," 24 June 2020 Occidental and ExxonMobil, which is working with another direct air capture firm, Global Thermostat, have been two of the biggest investors in the carbon removal technology to date. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy, presented by API: New polling on Republicans and climate change," 24 June 2020 Rather than returning to the atmosphere, the carbon is stored. William Atkins, Harper's Magazine, "[Letter from Ireland]," 23 June 2020 Lamborghini says that the aggressive aerodynamics and huge carbon-fiber rear wing allow for more downforce than a GT3 race car. Connor Hoffman, Car and Driver, "830+-HP Lamborghini SCV12 Will Be the Most Powerful V-12 Lambo," 23 June 2020 At present only 20% of world emissions are covered by a carbon price. The Economist, "Hotting up How much can financiers do about climate change?," 20 June 2020 And that's an important aspect of gardening, as healthy soil pulls more carbon out of the air, Walton said. London Gibson, The Indianapolis Star, "Hoosiers sheltering in place this spring took to creating 'victory gardens' for climate change," 19 June 2020 For Biden, cooperation with China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, will be crucial if his administration is to revive the Paris Climate Accord, combat nuclear nonproliferation and help end the Covid-19 pandemic. Nick Wadhams,, "Biden, Trump Quit Praising Xi to Feud Over Who’d Be Tougher on China," 18 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carbon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of carbon

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for carbon

French carbone, from Latin carbon-, carbo ember, charcoal

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Time Traveler for carbon

Time Traveler

The first known use of carbon was in 1788

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Statistics for carbon

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Carbon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for carbon


How to pronounce carbon (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of carbon

: a chemical element that forms diamonds and coal and that is found in petroleum and in all living plants and animals


car·​bon | \ ˈkär-bən How to pronounce carbon (audio) \

Kids Definition of carbon

: a chemical element occurring as diamond and graphite, in coal and petroleum, and in plant and animal bodies


noun, often attributive
car·​bon | \ ˈkär-bən How to pronounce carbon (audio) \

Medical Definition of carbon

: a nonmetallic element found native (as in diamonds and graphite) or as a constituent of coal, petroleum, asphalt, limestone, and organic compounds or obtained artificially (as in activated charcoal) symbol C — see Chemical Elements Table

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