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

Arrange the coals in a single layer in the center of the grill. Jeanmarie Brownson, chicagotribune.com, "How to grill steak to perfection — it's all about controlling the heat," 5 June 2018 Power from the grid remained cheap in theory, but unreliable for ordinary people in practice because the coal to produce electricity was going across the border. Bloomberg.com, "Why Doesn’t North Korea Want to Be More Like Its Neighbors?," 23 May 2018 When the coals turn gray and the gas grill is hot, set avocados on the grill rack, cut sides down. Karoline Boehm Goodnick, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipe: Grill avocados quickly over hot coals for a smoky flavor, then top with chickpea salad," 21 May 2018 Tagami countered that the coal posed no health risk and sued the city. Matier & Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, "If Oakland wants to keep fighting coal at terminal, it’s going to be expensive," 21 May 2018 In addition to the coal, however, the Colombians found 90 pounds of cocaine on board. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Disgusting, racist attack on McConnell is a new low for coal Republican," 4 May 2018 Beijing spent 2016 shutting down excess coal capacity. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "China Still Needs Your Coal, Australia," 22 Feb. 2019 Wheeler also worked as an energy sector lobbyist, perhaps most notably for Murray Energy Company, one of the nation’s largest coal mining companies, according to The Washington Post. Brittany Shoot, Fortune, "Who Is Andrew Wheeler, Trump's New EPA Chief?," 5 July 2018 Direct air capture is still in its infancy, though, and needs lots more R&D. Carbon dioxide–spewing coal plants are closing down despite the Trump administration’s desperate attempts to prop up the ailing industry. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Climate and energy news in 2018 actually wasn’t all bad," 1 Jan. 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

15 Mar 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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