noun, often attributive
ra·​dio·​car·​bon | \ˌrā-dē-ō-ˈkär-bən \

Definition of radiocarbon 

: radioactive carbon especially : carbon 14

Examples of radiocarbon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

During the earliest phase, radiocarbon-dated to around 2300 B.C.E., the pits were filled with broken bits of ceramic drinking vessels, stone axs, millstones, and butchered animal bones. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "Rituals performed at this German ‘Stonehenge’ may link mysterious monument to its U.K. counterpart," 28 June 2018 That's what an international team of researchers have discovered through radiocarbon-dating with new developments in archaeological analysis. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The People Who Built Stonehenge Came From Wales," 3 Aug. 2018 Lesnek and her colleagues used the latest research to account for the effect of marine diets on radiocarbon. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "New map of Alaska’s ancient coast supports theory that America’s first people arrived by boat," 30 May 2018 Archaeologists who first assessed the wreck in the 1990s sent a single sample of resin for radiocarbon analysis, which provided the date range of 1215 to 1405. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "An 800-Year-Old Shipwreck Helps Archaeologists Piece Together Asia’s Maritime Trade," 17 May 2018 Goehring's team, which includes students, drillers, and mountaineers providing support, will look at a type of radiocarbon that accumulates in rocks at the Earth's surface. Maria Clark,, "Antarctica bound: Tulane geologist joins international effort to study massive glacier," 1 May 2018 Using samples collected from the Liwu and Wulu river basins in Taiwan, which run off the central range, the team compared the radiocarbon profiles of organic carbon in the rock with the soil directly above it. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "Eroding mountains could release, not trap, greenhouse gases," 12 Apr. 2018 And the uncertainties of radiocarbon dating also had left open the possibility that the shells were, in fact, far older. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "Neanderthals, the World’s First Misunderstood Artists," 22 Feb. 2018 Making matters worse, radiocarbon dating becomes increasingly unreliable beyond about 40,000 years. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "Neanderthals, the World’s First Misunderstood Artists," 22 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'radiocarbon.' 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 radiocarbon

1936, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

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The first known use of radiocarbon was in 1936

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More Definitions for radiocarbon


ra·​dio·​car·​bon | \ˌrād-ē-ō-ˈkär-bən \

Medical Definition of radiocarbon 

: radioactive carbon especially : carbon 14

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