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See also: Coal and Coal.


English Wikipedia has an article on:
A nugget of anthracite coal.


From Middle English cole, from Old English col, from Proto-West Germanic *kol, from Proto-Germanic *kulą (compare West Frisian koal, Dutch kool, German Kohle, Danish kul), from *ǵwelH- (to burn, shine).

Compare Old Irish gúal (coal), Lithuanian žvìlti (to twinkle, glow), Persian زغال(zoğâl, live coal), Sanskrit ज्वल् (jval, to burn, glow), Tocharian B śoliye (hearth), all from the same root.



coal (countable and uncountable, plural coals)

  1. (uncountable) A black or brownish black rock formed from prehistoric plant remains, composed largely of carbon and burned as a fuel.
    The coal in this region was prized by ironmasters in centuries past, who mined it in the spots where the drainage methods of the day permitted.
    • 1947 January and February, O. S. Nock, “"The Aberdonian" in Wartime”, in Railway Magazine, pages 3, 5:
      Coal-eaters they may have been, but a more willing or harder working Atlantic engine was never designed.
    1. (countable) A type of coal, such as bituminous, anthracite, or lignite, and grades and varieties thereof, as a fuel commodity ready to buy and burn.
      See also: stockpile
      Put some coal on the fire.
      Order some coal from the coalyard.
  2. (countable) A piece of coal used for burning (this use is less common in American English)
    Put some coals on the fire.
  3. (countable) A glowing or charred piece of coal, wood, or other solid fuel.
    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.
    Coordinate terms: ember, ash, clinker
  4. charcoal.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Hausa: kwal


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


coal (third-person singular simple present coals, present participle coaling, simple past and past participle coaled)

  1. (intransitive) To take on a supply of coal (usually of steam ships or locomotives).
    • 1863, Colonial Secretary to Commander Baldwin, USN
      shortly after that she coaled again at Simon's Bay; and that after remaining in the neighbourhood of our ports for a time, she proceeded to Mauritius, where she coaled again, and then returned to this colony.
    • 1887, Harriet W. Daly, Digging, Squatting, and Pioneering Life in the Northern Territory of South Australia, page 131:
      Our next stopping-place was Newcastle, and here we coaled in earnest, for the steamer was flying light, and was loaded up in every available place.
    • 1890, Oscar Wilde, chapter XVI, in The Picture of Dorian Gray:
      The light shook and splintered in the puddles. A red glare came from an outward-bound steamer that was coaling.
    • 1949 November and December, Railway Magazine, page 371 (photo caption):
      N.W.R. four-cylinder 4-6-2 class "XS1," No. 761, coaling at Delhi junction. This class is the most powerful passenger engine in India.
  2. (transitive) To supply with coal.
    to coal a steamer
    • January 1917, National Geographic Magazine, Volume 31 Number 1, One Hundred British Seaports
      Cruisers may be coaled at sea and provided with ammunition openly. The submarine may not
    • 1944 January and February, W. McGowan Gradon, “Forres as a Railway Centre”, in Railway Magazine, page 23:
      After working the 1.30 p.m. through train from Forres to Aberdeen as far as Elgin, she returns tender first with a local passenger train and is then coaled and watered at Forres shed, and eventually works back to Perth on the 10.20 p.m. through freight.
  3. (intransitive) To be converted to charcoal.
    • 2014, Ken Mudge, Steve Gabriel, Farming the Woods:
      After the initial burn the goal of any good fire should be coaling; that is, creating a bed of solid coals that will sustain the fire.
    • 1957, H.R. Schubert, History of the British Iron and Steel Industry, page 18:
      As a result, particles of wood and twigs insufficiently coaled are frequently found at the bottom of such pits.
  4. (transitive) To burn to charcoal; to char.
    • 1622, Francis Bacon, Natural History:
      Char-coal of roots, coaled into great pieces.
  5. (transitive) To mark or delineate with charcoal.
    • 1551, William Camden, Remains concerning Britain:
      [] marvailing, he coaled out these rithms upon the wall near to the picture


coal”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.