coal

noun, often attributive
\ ˈkōl How to pronounce coal (audio) \
plural coals

Definition of coal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a piece of glowing carbon or charred wood : ember
3a : 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 coals plural, British : pieces or a quantity of the fuel broken up for burning
haul/rake (someone) over the coals
informal
: to criticize (someone) very severely The government was then raked over the coals for refusing to send out information about the candidates.The Economist The Headmaster was angry. So angry, indeed, that he did what in a more lucid interval he would not have done. He hauled a senior over the coals in the hearing of a number of juniors …— P. G. Wodehouse

coal

verb
coaled; coaling; coals

Definition of coal (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to burn to charcoal : char
2 : to supply with coal

intransitive verb

: to take in coal

Examples of coal in a Sentence

Noun

When the coals are red, they are very hot. I toasted one last marshmallow over the coals of the campfire.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Renewables won’t outcompete coal all year round, at least not yet. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Renewables Outproduced Coal Power in the U.S. for the First Time Ever," 2 May 2019 Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, which stretches from the affluent Pittsburgh suburbs into deep Pennsylvania steel and coal country, had been held by Republican Tim Murphy since 2003. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "Pennsylvania special election may see recount; Lamb, Saccone separated by razor-thin margin," 2 Oct. 2018 Advertising Finland is boosting its nuclear energy production by launching a new plant next year and lawmakers last month voted to completely phase out burning coal by 2029. Jari Tanner, The Seattle Times, "Finns to vote on how best to save their welfare state," 12 Apr. 2019 Then, as a lobbyist, Wheeler represented the largest coal mining operation in the Untied States, Murray Energy, for more than a decade. Eric Niiler, WIRED, "The Future of Former EPA Chief Scott Pruitt's Anti-Science Legacy," 6 July 2018 Raised in West Virginia, Sheldon was tentative about documenting addiction in a coal region that is more stereotyped than understood. Jeffrey Fleishman, latimes.com, "Documentary films explore the despair of America's heroin and opioid epidemic," 6 July 2018 Roasted over coals and piled into paper cones, a stack of chestnuts goes for about five euro. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "A Culture Editor's Impulse Buys: $200 of Potions, Swedish Sweets, and More," 7 Jan. 2019 The shift from coal and oil for power generation and heating will continue to propel Asian demand, and barring a major crisis not much can go wrong in gas trade over the next years. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Shipping Companies Banking on Gas Carriers as LNG Demand Grows," 14 Mar. 2019 Nuclear plants could replace current coal or natural gas plants, or supplement solar or wind installations in populous areas. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 'Green New Deal' Wants to Get Rid of Nuclear Power. That's a Great Idea.," 8 Feb. 2019

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1560, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for coal

Noun

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

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Dictionary Entries near coal

coaita

coak

coakum

coal

coala

coal ball

coal black

Statistics for coal

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for coal

The first known use of coal was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for coal

coal

noun

English Language Learners 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
US : a glowing piece of wood from a fire

coal

noun
\ ˈkōl How to pronounce coal (audio) \

Kids Definition of coal

1 : a piece of glowing or charred wood : ember
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on coal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coal

Spanish Central: Translation of coal

Nglish: Translation of coal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coal for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about coal

Comments on coal

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