There are 3 definitions of carbon in English:


Syllabification: car·bon
Pronunciation: /ˈkärbən


1The chemical element of atomic number 6, a nonmetal that has two main forms (diamond and graphite) and that also occurs in impure form in charcoal, soot, and coal. (Symbol: C)
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  • Combustion, or burning, is a chemical process involving carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
  • It is composed mostly of isotopes of hydrogen and helium and includes 60 other elements including neon, argon carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and iron.
  • Consider the top five constituents of the cosmos, in order of their abundance: hydrogen, helium, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen.
1.1 [usually as modifier] Carbon fiber: a bike with a carbon frame
1.2A rod of carbon in an arc lamp.
More example sentences
  • The carbons last approximately 2 hours and then are replaced.
  • By the 1970's there was no longer a source for the 2 1/2 inch carbons that were required for this light.
1.3A piece of carbon paper or a carbon copy.
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  • This was in the good old days when you drew your layouts on a massive piece of grid paper outfitted with a carbon layer so there were three copies.
  • All copies either had to be produced with carbons or on ‘skins’ fed through the temperamental duplicator.
  • If there is a carbon, also ask for that from the clerk and shred it when you go home.
2Carbon dioxide or other gaseous carbon compounds released into the atmosphere, associated with climate change: the level of carbon in the atmosphere has been consistently rising [as modifier]: fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions continued to rise
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  • This litter decomposes more slowly, resulting in a higher carbon accumulation rate.

Compounds of carbon (organic compounds) form the physical basis of all living organisms. Carbon atoms are able to link with each other and with other atoms to form chains and rings, and an infinite variety of carbon compounds exist



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  • One particular use is in carbonless copy papers.
  • As compared with martensite-hardenable carbon-containing steels, carbonless maraging steels show, for the same strength, a substantially greater resistance to brittle fracture, which is their most remarkable merit.
  • Special construction forms (for example, tractor-feed, carbonless, and accountable forms) and pamphlets intended for use in the field were still being printed.


late 18th century: from French carbone, from Latin carbo, carbon- 'coal, charcoal'.

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Word of the day punctum
Pronunciation: ˈpəNGktəm
a small, distinct point

There are 3 definitions of carbon in English:


Syllabification: car·bon-12


The most common natural carbon isotope, of mass 12. It is the basis for the accepted scale of atomic mass units.
More example sentences
  • All life needs Carbon 12 to live, all plants and animals.
  • In 1961 the isotope carbon-12 was selected to replace oxygen as the standard relative to which the atomic weights of all the other elements are measured.
  • The variability of the carbon-13/carbon-12 ratio in honeys was evaluated preliminary to use of the ratio to detect the addition of high-fructose corn syrup.

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There are 3 definitions of carbon in English:


Syllabification: car·bon-14


A long-lived naturally occurring radioactive carbon isotope of mass 14, used in carbon dating and as a tracer in biochemistry.
More example sentences
  • After the organism dies and becomes a fossil, carbon-14 continues to decay without being replaced. To measure the amount of radiocarbon left in a fossil.
  • Carbon-14 atoms are created when cosmic rays from the sun collide with atoms in the atmosphere. Learn about carbon-14 atoms and carbon-14 atom creation.
  • When the organism dies, it stops taking in any new carbon, and the amount of carbon-14 inside it gradually decreases as it decays.

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