• (British) IPA: /kəʊl/, /kɔʊl/
  • (America) IPA: /koʊl/


  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.
Related terms Translations Translations Translations Verb

coal (coals, present participle coaling; past and past participle coaled)

  1. (intransitive) To take on a supply of coal (usually of steam ships).
    • 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.
  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.

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