Definition of coal in English:

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Pronunciation: /kōl/


1A combustible black or dark brown rock consisting mainly of carbonized plant matter, found mainly in underground deposits and widely used as fuel: [as modifier]: a coal fire
More example sentences
  • Thus, an industrially valuable coal seam requires special conditions to accumulate.
  • Surface mining began in the United States in the late eighteenth century, when farmers and others dug coal from exposed coal seams on hillsides and stream banks.
  • The breathing of coal and rock dust causes black lung, the common name given to the lung diseases pneumoconiosis and silicosis.
1.1A red-hot piece of coal or other material in a fire: the glowing coals
More example sentences
  • Finally, his neck stiff from looking up, the Professor returned to studying the glowing coals of the fire.
  • After crossing the smoking bed of glowing coals, the fire walkers put their feet into a small side pit filled with milk.
  • A dying fire burned nearby, its coals still glowing crimson.


[with object]
Provide with a supply of coal: (as noun coaling) the coaling and watering of the engine
More example sentences
  • After coupling to the coach, No. 823 was coaled manually and then had to reverse down the shed road to be oiled and greased for the return journey.
  • It was shown in 1960 at Lambton shop track, with contractor's employee about to coal her up.
  • Details range from swimming instruction for boy seaman recruits at HMS Ganges to how Naval vessels were coaled.



coals to Newcastle

Something brought or sent to a place where it is already plentiful.
Example sentences
  • Although it might sound a bit like selling coals to Newcastle, exporting daffodils to Holland is exactly what bulb growers in Britain are now doing.
  • It takes a certain kind of cheek for a Russian opera company to bring Carmen to Paris - the operatic equivalent of coals to Newcastle.
  • It smacks of taking coals to Newcastle but the Forestry Commission hopes it is on to a money spinner by sending wood to Scandinavia.

rake (or haul) someone over the coals

Reprimand someone severely.
Example sentences
  • I would hope Bertie has hauled him over the coals and, if he hasn't, it shouldn't be too late even now for him to do so.
  • Yesterday the Assistant Speaker spent a lot of time in the House hauling me over the coals for apparently using unparliamentary language.
  • Having been hauled over the coals by both the media and the Treasury Select Committee for its disastrous investment policy, he is now determined to rebuild the firm's reputation.



Pronunciation: /ˈkōlē/
Example sentences
  • This facies comprises interlaminated to interbedded, dark grey to black carbonaceous claystone and coaly stringers that often grade vertically and laterally into economically exploitable coal seams.
  • If coaly or oily material is present in samples the DMSO may become very dark, but this does not appear to affect its effectiveness when re-used.
  • A repeating sequence of fining-upward sediments commonly capped by coaly layers is indicative of fluvial sediments.


Old English col (in the senses 'glowing ember' and 'charred remnant'), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kool and German Kohle. The sense 'combustible mineral used as fuel' dates from Middle English.

  • The Old English word col meant ‘a glowing ember’ rather than the substance that burns. The expression haul over the coals is a metaphorical extension of what was once an all-too-real form of torture. Coal from Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England was abundant long before the Industrial Revolution, and to carry (or take) coals to Newcastle for something redundant has been an expression since the mid 17th century.

Words that rhyme with coal

barcarole, bole, bowl, cajole, Cole, condole, console, control, dhole, dole, droll, enrol (US enroll), extol, foal, goal, hole, Joel, knoll, kohl, mol, mole, Nicole, parol, parole, patrol, pole, poll, prole, rôle, roll, scroll, Seoul, shoal, skoal, sole, soul, stole, stroll, thole, Tirol, toad-in-the-hole, toll, troll, vole, whole

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: coal

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