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

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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 Because no organic materials survived in the Hoxne hoard, radiocarbon can’t be used as a dating technique. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "A Search for a Lost Hammer Led to the Largest Cache of Roman Treasure Ever Found in Britain," 9 Jan. 2018 By analyzing how much radiocarbon is left in samples of tree rings dating back to a certain year, scientists can extrapolate how much energy the Sun was shooting toward Earth's atmosphere at that time. Ben Panko, Smithsonian, "This New Mexico Petroglyph Might Reveal an Ancient Solar Eclipse," 17 Aug. 2017

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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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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