coal·​face | \ ˈkōl-ˌfās How to pronounce coalface (audio) \
plural coalfaces

Definition of coalface

: 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

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!

First Known Use of coalface

1771, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about coalface

Time Traveler for coalface

Time Traveler

The first known use of coalface was in 1771

See more words from the same year

Statistics for coalface

Cite this Entry

“Coalface.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

Comments on coalface

What made you want to look up coalface? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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