carbon 14


Definition of carbon 14

: a heavy radioactive isotope of carbon of mass number 14 used especially in tracer studies and in dating old materials (such as archaeological and geologic specimens)

Examples of carbon 14 in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While alive, animals and plants tend to contain the same levels of carbon 14 as their environment. Scott Hershberger, Scientific American, "How Do Scientists Determine the Ages of Human Ancestors, Fossilized Dinosaurs and Other Organisms?," 4 Aug. 2020 All living things absorb carbon 14, a radioactive carbon isotope that decays at a regular rate over time. Megan I. Gannon, Scientific American, "Long-Awaited Update Arrives for Radiocarbon Dating," 1 Sep. 2020 Radiocarbon dating is based on measurement of the radioactive isotope, carbon 14, and radioactive decay is a random process at the atomic level, so any 14C measurement depends on the statistical behavior of all the 14C atoms present. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Old wasp nests help us understand old art," 5 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carbon 14.' 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 14

1946, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for carbon 14

Time Traveler

The first known use of carbon 14 was in 1946

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Statistics for carbon 14

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Carbon 14.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for carbon 14

carbon 14

\ -(ˈ)fōr(t)-ˈtēn, -(ˈ)fȯr(t)- How to pronounce carbon 14 (audio) \

Medical Definition of carbon 14

: a heavy radioactive isotope of carbon of mass number 14 used especially in tracer studies and in dating archaeological and geological materials

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