• WordNet 3.6
    • v coal take in coal "The big ship coaled"
    • v coal supply with coal
    • v coal burn to charcoal "Without a drenching rain, the forest fire will char everything"
    • n coal a hot fragment of wood or coal that is left from a fire and is glowing or smoldering
    • n coal fossil fuel consisting of carbonized vegetable matter deposited in the Carboniferous period
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Looking at black faced coal delivery man Looking at black faced coal delivery man
Coal gas plant Coal gas plant

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Nylon is a man-made fibre that is made from coal and petroleum
    • Coal (Min) 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.
    • Coal A thoroughly charred, and extinguished or still ignited, fragment from wood or other combustible substance; charcoal.
    • Coal To burn to charcoal; to char. "Charcoal of roots, coaled into great pieces."
    • Coal To mark or delineate with charcoal.
    • Coal To supply with coal; as, to coal a steamer.
    • v. i Coal To take in coal; as, the steamer coaled at Southampton.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: All the coal, oil, gas, and wood on Earth would only keep the Sun burning for a few days.
    • n coal A piece of wood or other combustible substance, either ignited or burning (a “live coal” or “glowing coal”), or burned out or charred (a “dead coal,” charcoal, cinder).
    • n coal A solid and more or less distinctly stratified mineral, varying in color from dark-brown to black, brittle, combustible, and used as a fuel, not fusible without decomposition, and very insoluble. It is the result of the transformation of organic matter, and is distinguished by its fossil origin from charcoal (def. 1). which is obtained by the direct carbonization of wood. (See coal-plant.) Coal always contains more or less earthy matter, which is left behind in the form of ash after combustion. The quantity of the ash varies considerably, but in good coal does not usually exceed from 5 to 10 per cent. in weight. Coal can, however, be used for fuel, in default of a better material, when the amount of ash is much larger than this. Coal consists essentially of carbon, together with hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen; and sulphur is rarely if ever absent. The most general subdivision of coal is into hard and soft. The former is that coal which consists almost entirely of carbon; the latter is that in which there is a considerable percentage of hydrogen. Hard coal is generally called anthracite; bituminous coal, or simply coal, is the designation of the ordinary soft coal almost everywhere in general use where coal is burned, except in the eastern and Atlantic United States. In anthracite the bituminous or volatile matter constitutes usually less than 7 per cent. of the whole; in soft or bituminous coal it is usually more than 18 per cent. Coal intermediate in character between anthracite and bituminous coal is called semi-anthracite or semi-bituminous, according as it approaches anthracite or bituminous coal more nearly in character. The material driven off from coal on ignition is not really bitumen, for coal is insoluble, while bitumen is soluble. The name comes from the fact that bituminous coal behaves on being heated very much as bitumen itself does—that is, it swells up more or less, fuses together, and burns with a bright flame and considerable dense smoke. Coal occurs in all the geological formations, from the lowest in which land-plants have been found (the Devonian) up to the highest; but the coal of the great manufacturing countries, England, France, Germany, and the eastern United States, is nearly all of the same geological age, and is obtained from the formation called the Carboniferous. (See carboniferous.) The coal of Australia, India, and a part of that of China is of later geological age than the Carboniferous, being Mesozoic, and not Paleozoic. There is also a large quantity of good coal in various parts of the world in formations even more recent than the Mesozoic. In general, however, from the time of the Carboniferous on, the conditions were continually growing less favorable for the formation of coal on a large scale; so that each successive age has less coal to show, and that on an average of poorer quality than the coal of the true Carboniferous epoch. (See lignite.) Also called stone-coal, mineral coal, and formerly sea-coal. [Coal in this sense is used as a collective noun without a plural; but in Great Britain the plural form is also used in speaking of a quantity of coal, with reference to the pieces composing it: as, to lay in a supply of coals; put more coals on the fire.]
    • n coal Same as slack.
    • coal To burn to coal or charcoal; make into coal; char.
    • coal To mark or delineate with charcoal.
    • coal To provide with coal; furnish a supply of coal to or for: as, to coal a steamship or a locomotive.
    • coal To take in coal for use as fuel: as, the vessel coaled at Portsmouth.
    • n coal Coal which will not fuse together and cohere in masses when burned. It is desirable that coal should do this for forge fires in certain kinds of work.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In the late 19th century, millions of human mummies were used as fuel for locomotives in Egypt where wood and coal was scarce, but mummies were plentiful.
    • n Coal kōl a solid, black, combustible substance used for fuel, dug out of the earth: cinder
    • v.i Coal to take in coal
    • v.t Coal to supply with coal
    • ***


  • Buddha
    “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.”
  • Benjamin Franklin
    “He that blows the coals in quarrels that he has nothing to do with, has no right to complain if the sparks fly in his face.”
  • Hitopadesa
    “No one should form an acquaintance with one who has an evil character. A piece of coal, if it is hot burns, and if it's cold, blackens the hands.”
  • Billy Graham
    “Churchgoers are like coals in a fire. When they cling together, they keep the flame aglow; when they separate, they die out.”
  • John Major
    John Major
    “I am walking over hot coals suspended over a deep pit at the bottom of which are a large number of vipers baring their fangs.”


Canary in a coal mine - (UK) A canary in a coal mine is an early warning of danger.
Coals to Newcastle - (UK) Taking, bringing, or carrying coals to Newcastle is doing something that is completely unnecessary.
Haul someone over the coals - If you haul someone over the coals, you reprimand them severely.
Heap coals on someone's head - To do something nice or kind to someone who has been nasty to you. If someone felt bad because they forgot to get you a Christmas gift, for you to buy them a specially nice gift is heaping coals on their head. ('Heap coals of fire' is also used.)
Rake over old coals - (UK) If you go back to old problems and try to bring them back, making trouble for someone, you are raking over old coals.
Rake someone over the coals - (USA) If you rake someone over the coals, you criticize or scold them severely.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
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


In literature:

When coal stoves and furnaces are freshly filled with coal, coal gas may escape if the dampers are not properly regulated.
"Scouting For Girls, Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts" by Girl Scouts
Fogg had slipped clumsily on the tender plate in using the coal rake, and Ralph had marveled at this unusual lack of steadiness of footing.
"Ralph on the Overland Express" by Allen Chapman
Before going to the hotel Mrs. Gerhardt had cautioned George that he must bring enough coal from the yards to last over Christmas day.
"Jennie Gerhardt" by Theodore Dreiser
If he can dig coal, he is needed in a coal mine.
"The Next Step" by Scott Nearing
Ireland and Irish goods for the Irish, and burn everything English but English coals.
"Ireland as It Is" by Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
His lands joined ours, stretching from the black Stone Coal south to the Valley River.
"Dwellers in the Hills" by Melville Davisson Post
There was not a man to be got to help with our coal-shifting next day.
"Farthest North" by Fridtjof Nansen
In one case he stoked the furnaces of a coal mine for a week.
"A Captain in the Ranks" by George Cary Eggleston
The coal-venture of this winter had been much larger, though coal was declining, and the profit somewhat less.
"Hope Mills" by Amanda M. Douglas
Not the cat, who came mewing out of the coal-cellar the minute she unlocked the door.
"The Adventures of A Brownie" by Miss Mulock

In poetry:

It’s the sweet law of men
They make wine from grapes
They make fire from coal
They make men from kisses
"It’s The Sweet Law Of Men" by Paul Eluard
There was a whispering in my hearth,
A sigh of the coal.
Grown wistful of a former earth
It might recall.
"Miners" by Wilfred Owen
Father, the coals are dying,
See! I have heated the spade,
Let me throw the door wide open,
I will not be afraid.
"A Mystery Play" by Duncan Campbell Scott
A dewdrop like a looking-glass,
A hair like golden wire;
The smallest grain of mustard-see
As fierce as coals of fire;
"The Fly" by Walter de la Mare
Yea, flames are on the hearthstones;
The ovens are full of bread,
But here the coals are dying
And the flames are dead.
"A Mystery Play" by Duncan Campbell Scott
When Keezar sat on the hillside
Upon his cobbler's form,
With a pan of coals on either hand
To keep his waxed-ends warm.
"Cobbler Keezar's Vision" by John Greenleaf Whittier

In news:

UMWA praises Boucher efforts to protect coal miners' jobs and the coal industry .
Embattled coal industry wages multifront lobbying war.
Reid accuses coal industry of using "the old Hitler lie".
THE rumble of change is being heard in the coal fields of America.
Utilities are exploring the costs and availability of lower-sulfur coal.
FRANKFORT — Kentucky fails to make the coal industry pay enough to clean up the environmental wreckage it leaves behind, according to the US Office of Surface Mining.
How Many Coal Miner Deaths Does It Take To Pass Safety Regulations.
A coal producer owned by a longtime critic of President Barack Obama's energy policies is laying off nearly 160 workers at Illinois and Utah mines in the wake of the president's re-election.
Polish Coal Miner JSW Posts 58% Decline in 3Q Net Profit.
Veteran coal miner voices concerns about 'war on coal.
" Coal miner s used to be heroes," Palmer said.
An undated photo shows a coal mine in northeastern British Columbia.
Coal Miner 's Donor.
Chandler's Lawyer Says Coal Executive Not Defamed In TV Ad.
Coal mining disaster, new US rule on coal dust.

In science:

In the frame of the coal dust model, the observations required nano-sized, transiently heated particles.
High excitation ISM and gas
To see why this is tied to the information puzzle consider burning a piece of coal.
The quantum structure of black holes
The coal disappears and radiation is left, but there is no ‘information loss’.
The quantum structure of black holes
The state of the coal can be seen by examining the piece of the coal; a different piece of coal will have a different internal arrangement of atoms even though it might look similar at a coarse-grained level.
The quantum structure of black holes
The radiation leaves from the surface of the coal, so it can ‘see’ the details of the internal structure of the coal.
The quantum structure of black holes