See also: 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 rock formed from prehistoric plant remains, composed largely of carbon and burned as a fuel.
    Put some coal on the fire.
  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 type of coal, such as bituminous, anthracite, or lignite, and grades and varieties thereof.
  4. (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.
  5. Charcoal.


Derived termsEdit


  • Hausa: kwal

Related termsEdit

See alsoEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


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).
    • 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.
    • 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.
  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
  3. (intransitive) To be converted to charcoal.
    • 2014, Ken Mudge and 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, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.