What does coal mean?

Definitions for coalkoʊl

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word coal.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. coal(noun)

    fossil fuel consisting of carbonized vegetable matter deposited in the Carboniferous period

  2. ember, coal(verb)

    a hot fragment of wood or coal that is left from a fire and is glowing or smoldering

  3. char, coal(verb)

    burn to charcoal

    "Without a drenching rain, the forest fire will char everything"

  4. coal(verb)

    supply with coal

  5. coal(verb)

    take in coal

    "The big ship coaled"


  1. coal(Noun)

    A black rock formed from prehistoric plant remains, composed largely of carbon and burned as a fuel.

  2. coal(Noun)

    A piece of coal used for burning. Note that in British English the first of the following examples would usually be used, whereas in American English the latter would.

  3. coal(Noun)

    A type of coal, such as bituminous, anthracite, or lignite, and grades and varieties thereof.

  4. coal(Noun)

    A smouldering piece of material.

    Just as the camp-fire died down to just coals, with no flames to burn the marshmallows, someone dumped a whole load of wood on, so I gave up and went to bed.

  5. coal(Verb)

    To take in coal; as, the steamer coaled at Southampton.

  6. coal(Verb)

    To be converted to charcoal.

  7. Origin: cole, from col, from kulan, from gʷol- (compare Irish gúal ‘coal’, Tocharian B śoliye ‘hearth’, Persian زغال ‘live coal’), from ‘to glow, burn’ (compare Lithuanian žvìlti ‘to twinkle, glow’, Sanskrit ‘it burns’).

Webster Dictionary

  1. Coal(noun)

    a thoroughly charred, and extinguished or still ignited, fragment from wood or other combustible substance; charcoal

  2. Coal(noun)

    a black, or brownish black, solid, combustible substance, dug from beds or veins in the earth to be used for fuel, and consisting, like charcoal, mainly of carbon, but more compact, and often affording, when heated, a large amount of volatile matter

  3. Coal(verb)

    to burn to charcoal; to char

  4. Coal(verb)

    to mark or delineate with charcoal

  5. Coal(verb)

    to supply with coal; as, to coal a steamer

  6. Coal(verb)

    to take in coal; as, the steamer coaled at Southampton

  7. Origin: [AS. col; akin to D. kool, OHG. chol, cholo, G. kohle, Icel. kol, pl., Sw. kol, Dan. kul; cf. Skr. jval to burn. Cf. Kiln, Collier.]


  1. Coal

    Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure. Coal is composed primarily of carbon along with variable quantities of other elements, chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Throughout history, coal has been a useful resource. It is primarily burned for the production of electricity and/or heat, and is also used for industrial purposes, such as refining metals. A fossil fuel, coal forms when dead plant matter is converted into peat, which in turn is converted into lignite, then sub-bituminous coal, after that bituminous coal, and lastly anthracite. This involves biological and geological processes that take place over a long period. Coal is the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide, as well as one of the largest worldwide anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide releases. In 1999 world gross carbon dioxide emissions from coal usage were 8,666 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Coal-fired electric power generation emits around 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide for every megawatt-hour generated, which is almost double the approximately 1100 pounds of carbon dioxide released by a natural gas-fired electric plant per megawatt-hour generated. Because of this higher carbon efficiency of natural gas generation, as the fuel mix in the United States has changed to reduce coal and increase natural gas generation, carbon dioxide emissions have fallen. Those measured in the first quarter of 2012 were the lowest of any recorded for the first quarter of any year since 1992.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Coal

    kōl, n. a solid, black, combustible substance used for fuel, dug out of the earth: cinder.—v.i. to take in coal.—v.t. to supply with coal.—n. Coal′-bed, a stratum of coal.—adj. Coal′-black, black as coal, very black.—ns. Coal′-box, a box for holding coal; Coal′-brass, a name applied to the pyrites in the coal-measures; Coal′field, a field or district containing coal strata; Coal′-fish, a fish of the cod family, so named from the black colour of its back; Coal′-gas, the mixture of gases produced by the destructive distillation of coal, chiefly carburetted hydrogen—giving the gaslight in common use; Coal′-heav′er, one employed in carrying coal; Coal′-house, a covered-in place for keeping coal; Coal′man, one who has to do with coals; Coal′-mas′ter, the owner or lessee of a coalfield; Coal′-meas′ure, a measure by which the quantity of coal is ascertained: (pl.) the group of carboniferous strata in which coal is found (geol.); Coal′-mine, Coal′-pit, a pit or mine from which coal is dug; Coal′-own′er, one who owns a colliery; Coal′-plant, a fossil plant of the carboniferous strata; Coal′-scutt′le, a vessel for holding coal; Coal′-tar, or Gas-tar, a thick, black, opaque liquid which condenses in the pipes when coal or petroleum is distilled; Coal′-trim′mer, one who stores or shifts coal on board vessels; Coal′-whip′per, one employed in unloading coal from vessels at anchor to barges which convey it to the wharves.—adj. Coal′y, of or like coal.—Coaling station, a port at which steamships take in coal; Coal-scuttle bonnet, a woman's bonnet, shaped like a coal-scuttle upside down.—Blind or Anthracite coal, that which does not flame when kindled; Bituminous coal, that which does; Brown coal (see Brown); Caking coal, a bituminous coal which cakes or fuses into one mass in the fire; Cannel or Parrot coal (see Cannel); Cherry or Soft coal, coal breaking off easily into small, irregular cubes, having beautiful shining lustre; Splint, Hard, or Block coal, plentiful in Scotland, hard, breaking into cuboidal blocks.—Blow the coals, to excite passion; Carry coals to Newcastle, to take a thing where it is least needed; Haul over the coals, reprimand—from the discipline applied to heretics; Heap coals of fire on the head, to excite remorse by returning good for evil (Rom. xii. 20). [A.S. col; cog. with Ice. kol, Ger. kohle.]

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Coal

    A natural fuel formed by partial decomposition of vegetable matter under certain environmental conditions.

Suggested Resources

  1. COAL

    What does COAL stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the COAL acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'coal' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2207

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'coal' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1217

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'coal' in Nouns Frequency: #874

Anagrams for coal »

  1. cola

  2. Acol

  3. LCAO

  4. Caló


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of coal in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of coal in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Carlos Sturdill:

    I love mining coal.

  2. David King:

    We have to leave coal in the ground.

  3. Arild Olsen:

    I think we'll manage quite okay after coal.

  4. Xin Qinling:

    This is a coal city and there is nothing else.

  5. Sigmar Gabriel:

    We cannot reduce all that to the coal question.

Images & Illustrations of coal

  1. coalcoalcoal

Translations for coal

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for coal »


Find a translation for the coal definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these coal definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"coal." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 25 Apr. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/coal>.

Are we missing a good definition for coal? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for coal:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.