coal gas


: gas made from coal: such as
: the mixture of gases thrown off by burning coal
: gas made by carbonizing bituminous coal in retorts and used for heating and lighting

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Up until the 1960s, the ovens and stoves in many British homes used coal gas, which was rich in dangerous carbon monoxide and was implicated in many deaths, accidental or intentional. Dave Philipps, New York Times, 15 Oct. 2020 The ship had been extensively refitted, an operation that included swapping out its old engine for a new one that ran not on coal gas, but on gasoline. John Kelly, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2019 Green was an innovator who pioneered the use of coal gas instead of hydrogen gas to power balloons, as well as the use of the guide rope, a way of controlling the otherwise-unsteerable balloon’s progress using, literally, a long rope. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, 31 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coal gas.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1806, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of coal gas was in 1806

Dictionary Entries Near coal gas

Cite this Entry

“Coal gas.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

coal gas

: gas from coal
especially : gas made from bituminous coal and used for heating and lighting

More from Merriam-Webster on coal gas

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