car·​bon·​ize | \ ˈkär-bə-ˌnīz How to pronounce carbonize (audio) \
carbonized; carbonizing

Definition of carbonize

transitive verb

1 : to convert into carbon or a carbonic residue

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Examples of carbonize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web His technique for reassembling papyrus scrolls carbonized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in a.d. Ariel Sabar, The Atlantic, "A Mystery at Oxford," 13 May 2020 The scrolls’ unique state of preservation is due to the hot gases of Vesuvius, which carbonized the scrolls’ exterior but left many of them readable inside. Peter Saenger, WSJ, "Preserved by a Fiery Disaster," 21 June 2019 Until the power grid is de-carbonized, even that benefit isn't too great. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "The real potential of the electric vehicle revolution," 17 Feb. 2020 In excavations some two millenniums later, the loaves finally came out of the oven — carbonized, but with their shape and texture intact. Meara Sharma, New York Times, "How to Eat Dinner Like the Last Citizens of Pompeii," 24 Dec. 2019 Sanders has called for ending all infrastructure permits for fossil fuels, and to use the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation to set rules aimed at de-carbonizing the transportation sector. Sahil Kapur, Fortune, "Why Even a Democratic Landslide in 2020 Won’t Guarantee Major Climate Action," 28 Aug. 2019 They were carbonized in the aftermath of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, entombed underground for more than a millennium and discovered 267 years ago — the pages of papyrus fused together like rings of an oak. Washington Post, "How do you read ancient scrolls too brittle to unfurl? An American scientist may have an answer.," 2 July 2019 Yet the tremendous volcanic heat and gases spewed by Vesuvius carbonized the scrolls, turning them black and hard like lumps of coal. Henrik Knudsen, Smithsonian, "Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia," 26 June 2018 If de-carbonizing energy production is the greatest challenge to humanity, nuclear, which generates roughly the same carbon output per energy unit as solar panels and windmills, will be a major part of the solution. Charles R. Morris, WSJ, "‘Energy’ Review: The Path to Power," 21 June 2018

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

1798, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for carbonize

Time Traveler

The first known use of carbonize was in 1798

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Statistics for carbonize

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Carbonize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for carbonize


variants: or British carbonise \ ˈkär-​bə-​ˌnīz How to pronounce carbonise (audio) \
carbonized or British carbonised; carbonizing or British carbonising

Medical Definition of carbonize

transitive verb

: to convert into carbon or a carbonic residue

intransitive verb

: to become carbonized or charred

Other Words from carbonize

carbonization or British carbonisation \ ˌkär-​bə-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce carbonisation (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on carbonize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with carbonize

Britannica English: Translation of carbonize for Arabic Speakers

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