Definition of cinder in English:



  • 1A small piece of partly burnt coal or wood that has stopped giving off flames but still has combustible matter in it.

    ‘a cold hearth full of cinders’
    • ‘Two years ago, a couple claimed their child was burned by a flying cinder from a train.’
    • ‘Firewalking refers to the activity of walking on hot coals, rocks or cinders without burning the soles of one's feet.’
    • ‘She alone has the presence of mind to remove a burning cinder from a table full of explosives.’
    • ‘The night had been long and cold and the smouldering fire at the front of the camp was burning its final cinders around midday.’
    • ‘She looked a positive wreck: covered with smoking cinders, several burn marks adorning her loose denim pants.’
    • ‘The sky was black, blanketed in rolling clouds of smoke that glowed with patches of baleful red, from burning cinders.’
    • ‘Even the finest of rookies may be fated to burn out and plummet to earth as a cold cinder within a season or two.’
    • ‘An eight-year-old boy threw coal cinders to drive away dogs threatening his friends.’
    • ‘Just when the flame got large enough to burn the entire leaf, it stopped abruptly - not even a cinder left.’
    • ‘One day when I was growing up, a train went by and a cinder from the steam engine blew up on the roof and started a fire.’
    • ‘Flipping a lighter, Peter lit the crumpled sheet and watched the flickering ball of fire slowly turn to a cinder in his hand.’
    • ‘A hot cinder from my cigarette dropped onto my foot.’
    • ‘His presence seemed to add a cinder or two to the dying fire of the winners' performance.’
    • ‘When I awoke the fire had burnt down to the last cinder.’
    ashes, ash, embers
    ashes, ash, embers
    1. 1.1cindersAshes.
      • ‘The wheels are exposed to a lot of corrosive elements such as the dust, salt, stones, and cinders.’
      • ‘The place was a mess; all the tables were either broken or burnt to cinders.’
      • ‘I too spent happy times wandering round the ‘field’ which was mostly of dirt and cinders.’
      • ‘Many loose materials are sold by the cubic yard, including cement, dirt, sand, rock, landscaping bark, gravel and cinders.’
      • ‘I hurried my breakfast, cleaned the fire, riddled the cinders, chopped the sticks and filled the coal bucket.’
      • ‘Gas-rich lavas, particularly those that are of high viscosity, form large quantities of cinders and ash which collect in a cinder cone.’
      • ‘Spread an inch of gravel or cinders on the bottom for drainage and set pots in.’
      • ‘They grew in cinders, rubble, scrap, and clay across St. Louis-barren, sunny spaces where nothing else would grow.’
      • ‘We made our ascent on pony, winding our way over cinders and ash.’
      • ‘Coarse, clean sand and small sifted cinders placed round the bulbs will also ward off attacks.’
      • ‘Lincoln's schoolyard was covered with tiny black cinders that stung the flesh in a fall.’
      • ‘Within a week the government started to send the displaced persons back to their homes, which are now cinders and ashes.’
      • ‘In the end, all that remains are ashes, cinders.’
      • ‘They emerge from the cinders to feed and mate when the sun has warmed the rock surfaces.’
      • ‘Defeat came as a red blast of heat and a blizzard of ash and cinders.’
      • ‘You have to stand next to the barbecue, though, and lift the grill up occasionally, otherwise your meat will end up as cinders.’
      • ‘Inside the town, the cottage bursts into flame and quickly burns down to cinders.’
      • ‘To cut the cost, savvy bosses burnt firewood, chaff and coal cinders in addition to the coal briquettes and balls.’
      • ‘The courthouse was shelled and burnt to cinders - along with all its documents.’
      • ‘A hint of cinders and burnt tobacco might very well add to the complexity of a wine and make it all the more pleasing.’
      ash, embers
      ash, embers
  • 2mass noun Waste matter produced by smelting or refining ore; slag.

    • ‘Years ago this was the way Rowntree's disposed of its cinder waste from its incinerator - it had waiting lists of people wanting this material.’
    • ‘We are going a roundabout way to the village via an abandoned rail line with a cinder trackbed.’
    • ‘Eventually we find a new little bike path of dirt and cinder that follows the Little Patuxent river.’
    • ‘The concrete balcony stairs, however, were constructed of poorly consolidated cinder concrete and needed extensive repair.’
    • ‘The four shop tracks had a coaling plant, sand house and cinder plant as well.’
    • ‘The members flattened coal cinders for a runway and built a hangar from scrap wood.’
    • ‘The ship was transporting coal cinders from Malaysia to Shanghai.’
    • ‘The high school parking lot has a cinder surface instead of asphalt, wooden ties instead of concrete for the curbs.’


    burnt to a cinder
    • Completely burnt.

      ‘I like my steak burnt to a cinder’
      • ‘It looked like 15 years of hard work burnt to a cinder.’
      • ‘It was all burnt to a cinder by the time I got back in later that night.’
      • ‘Barbecue food has that odd combination of being burnt to a cinder on the outside and retaining a raw quality in the middle.’
      • ‘The first time I went abroad it was to Crete, and I got burnt to a cinder.’
      • ‘A playground helicopter ride in Lions Riverside Park was burnt to a cinder at around 10pm on Saturday night.’
      • ‘Wildlife and vegetation on the surrounding islands vaporized, birds burnt to a cinder in mid-flight.’
      • ‘Firefighters and residents were forced to stand and watch as $2 million in property was burnt to a cinder in a shed fire in Alloway yesterday morning.’
      • ‘Despite help from a passing motorist, it burnt to a cinder.’


Old English sinder ‘slag’, of Germanic origin; related to German Sinter. The similar but unconnected French cendre (from Latin cinis ‘ashes’) has influenced both the sense development and the spelling. Compare with sinter.