coal·​face ˈkōl-ˌfās How to pronounce coalface (audio)
plural coalfaces
: the place inside a mine where the coal is cut out of the rock
The war started, and he spent six years building bridges in North Africa, which he said was easier than working on the coalface in Wales.Denny Taylor, Beginning to Read and the Spin Doctors of Science, 1998
at the coalface British
: at the place where the actual work of an activity is done
Offering differentiation will be particularly important in sectors at the coalface of the UK's economic downturn.Marketing Week, 5 Jan. 2012

Word History

First Known Use

1771, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of coalface was in 1771

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near coalface

Cite this Entry

“Coalface.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!