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

One of the largest bulk ships can carry over 300,000 tons of coal. John Konrad, BostonGlobe.com, "The next global tech disruption will happen where few expect it," 28 June 2019 The Virginian-Pilot reports 36 cars full of coal went off the tracks. USA TODAY, "Troll trail, coal train derailment, geyser record: News from around our 50 states," 27 June 2019 Dealing with China is going to involve their use of coal and their manufacture of solar panels. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "The Debates Will Be About Climate—Disguised as Other Issues," 26 June 2019 The Manics hail from a region known colloquially as the Valleys, whose ridged landscape harbors rich veins of coal. Longreads, "Manic Street Preachers’ Album The Holy Bible," 25 June 2019 The heart of the workspace is a fiery pile of coal burned in a hearth. Josh Baugh, ExpressNews.com, "In San Antonio, old-world blacksmithing yields new tools," 17 June 2019 Brown said, raising her hand with excitement and promptly plopping one of the candies—which resembles a piece of coal—in her mouth. Hannah Chubb, PEOPLE.com, "The Extremely Sour Candy Hannah Brown Ate on The Bachelorette Is Available Online," 13 June 2019 Feeding the Beast Speaking of fuel, Big Boy’s burn no longer comes from thousands of pounds of coal. Tom Bentley, Popular Mechanics, "Why the Big Boy 4014 is Such a Badass Train," 13 June 2019 The agreements come as both the state House and Senate have passed bills that call for phasing out the use of coal and natural-gas generated electricity in Washington state. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Microsoft makes clean-power deal with Chelan PUD," 12 Apr. 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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Learn More about coal

Dictionary Entries near coal

coaita

coak

coakum

coal

coala

coal ball

coal black

Statistics for coal

Last Updated

5 Jul 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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