firedamp

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n firedamp a mixture of gases (mostly methane) that form in coal mines and become explosive when mixed with air
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n firedamp The gas contained in coal, often given off by it in large quantities, and exploding, on ignition, when mixed with atmospheric air. Explosion takes place when, as is often the case, the gas given off by the coal consists largely of marsh-gas (light carbureted hydrogen). The composition of the gas evolved from coal is, however, very variable; in connection with the marsh-gas, oxygen, carbonic acid, and nitrogen seem to be always present. Fire-damp is a source of great danger to life in coal-mines. See davy.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Firedamp a gas, carburetted hydrogen, in coal-mines, apt to take fire and explode when mixed with atmospheric air
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. fýr; Ger. feuer; Gr. pyr.