Webster 1913 Edition



, fr. L.
coal; cf. Skr.
to cook.]
An elementary substance, not metallic in its nature, which is present in all organic compounds. Atomic weight 11.97. Symbol C. it is combustible, and forms the base of lampblack and charcoal, and enters largely into mineral coals. In its pure crystallized state it constitutes the diamond, the hardest of known substances, occuring in monometric crystals like the octahedron, etc. Another modification is graphite, or blacklead, and in this it is soft, and occurs in hexagonal prisms or tables. When united with oxygen it forms carbon dioxide, commonly called carbonic acid, or carbonic oxide, according to the proportions of the oxygen; when united with hydrogen, it forms various compounds called hydrocarbons. Compare
, and
Carbon compounds
Compounds of carbon
those compounds consisting largely of carbon, commonly produced by animals and plants, and hence called organic compounds, though their synthesis may be effected in many cases in the laboratory.

carbon copy
originally, a copy of a document made by use of a
carbon paper
, but now used generally to refer to any copy of a document made by a mechanical process, such as xerographic copying.
Carbon dioxide
Carbon monoxide
See under
Carbon light
an extremely brilliant electric light produced by passing a galvanic current through two carbon points kept constantly with their apexes neary in contact.
Carbon point
a small cylinder or bit of gas carbon moved forward by clockwork so that, as it is burned away by the electric current, it shall constantly maintain its proper relation to the opposing point.
Carbon paper
a thin type of paper coated with a dark-colored waxy substance which can be transferred to another sheet of paper underneath it by pressing on the carbon paper. It is used by placing a sheet between two sheets of ordinary writing paper, and then writing or typing on the top sheet, by which process a copy of the writing or typing is transferred to the second sheet below, making a copy without the need for writing or typing a second time. Multiple sheets may be used, with a carbon paper placed above each plain paper to which an impression is to be transferred. In 1997 such paper was still used, particularly to make multiple copies of filled-in purchase invoice forms, but in most applications this technique has been superseded by the more faithful xerographic reproduction and computerized printing processes.
Carbon tissue
paper coated with gelatine and pigment, used in the autotype process of photography.
Gas carbon
a compact variety of carbon obtained as an incrustation on the interior of gas retorts, and used for the manufacture of the carbon rods of pencils for the voltaic, arc, and for the plates of voltaic batteries, etc.

Webster 1828 Edition



Pure charcoal; a simple body, black, brittle, light and inodorous. It is usually the remains of some vegetable body, from which all its volatile matter has been expelled by heat. When crystalized, it forms the diamond; and by means of a galvanic apparatus, it is found to be capable of fusion.

Definition 2023



See also: carbón and càrbon


Chemical element
C Previous: boron (B)
Next: nitrogen (N)


carbon (countable and uncountable, plural carbons)

  1. (uncountable) The chemical element (symbol C) with an atomic number of 6.
  2. (countable) An atom of this element, in reference to a molecule containing it.
    A methane molecule is made up of a single carbon with four hydrogens.
  3. (countable, informal) A sheet of carbon paper.
    • 1939, Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, Penguin 2011, page 51:
      He stepped back and opened his bag and took out a printed pad of D.O.A. forms and began to write over a carbon.
  4. (countable, informal) A carbon copy.
  5. A fossil fuel that is made of impure carbon such as coal or charcoal.
  6. (ecology, uncountable) Carbon dioxide, in the context of global warming and climate change.
  7. A carbon rod or pencil used in an arc lamp.
  8. A plate or piece of carbon used as one of the elements of a voltaic battery.

Derived terms

Related terms


See also


Chemical element
C Previous: bor (B)
Next: azot (N)


Borrowing from French carbone, coined by Lavoisier, from Latin carbō, carbōnem (charcoal, coal), from Proto-Indo-European *ker- (to burn). Doublet of cărbune, inherited from the same Latin source.


  • IPA(key): /karˈbon/
  • Hyphenation: car‧bon


carbon n (uncountable)

  1. carbon (chemical element)


carbon in DEX online - Dicționare ale limbii române (Dictionaries of the Romanian language), 2004-2016

Scottish Gaelic

Alternative forms


carbon m (genitive singular carboin, no plural)

  1. carbon (element)


Derived terms