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[sin-der] /ˈsɪn dər/
a partially or mostly burned piece of coal, wood, etc.
  1. any residue of combustion; ashes.
  2. Geology. coarse scoriae erupted by volcanoes.
a live, flameless coal; ember.
  1. slag1 (def 1).
  2. a mixture of ashes and slag.
verb (used with object)
to spread cinders on:
The highway department salted and cindered the icy roads.
Archaic. to reduce to cinders.
verb (used without object)
to spread cinders on a surface, as a road or sidewalk:
My neighbor began cindering as soon as the first snowflake fell.
Origin of cinder
before 900; Middle English synder, Old English sinder slag; cognate with German Sinter, Old Norse sindr; c- (for s-) < French cendre ashes
Related forms
cindery, cinderous, adjective
cinderlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cinder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I'll see the basin scorched to a cinder before I'll let them in on the deal!

    Square Deal Sanderson Charles Alden Seltzer
  • "I'll see you dogs burned to a cinder in the sun first," he growled.

    Slaves of Mercury Nat Schachner
  • And I must say for him that he is not one of those who think of the Alps as no more than a cinder track to try one's endurance.

    A Tramp's Notebook Morley Roberts
  • It crisped the poor fellow to a cinder, and sheared the head of my comrade clean off.

    Slaves of Mercury Nat Schachner
  • The periods are like frog's eggs in the cinder Pond but the commas are like pollywogs with tails.

    The Cinder Pond Carroll Watson Rankin
  • His mouth was as dry as a cinder, and his face was wet with perspiration—and tears.

    Tales of Unrest Joseph Conrad
  • In my case the cinder proved the introduction, as there was none other.

    Bab: A Sub-Deb Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • "It's been a coal day when you're left," said the kindling-wood to the cinder.

    The New Pun Book Thomas A. Brown and Thomas Joseph Carey
British Dictionary definitions for cinder


a piece of incombustible material left after the combustion of coal, coke, etc; clinker
a piece of charred material that burns without flames; ember
Also called sinter. any solid waste from smelting or refining
(pl) fragments of volcanic lava; scoriae
(transitive) (rare) to burn to cinders
Derived Forms
cindery, adjective
Word Origin
Old English sinder; related to Old Norse sindr, Old High German sintar, Old Slavonic sedra stalactite
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cinder

Old English sinder "dross of iron, slag," from Proto-Germanic *sendra- "slag" (cf. Old Saxon sinder "slag, dross," Old Norse sindr, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch sinder, Dutch sintel, Old High German sintar, German Sinter), from PIE root *sendhro- "coagulating fluid" (cf. Old Church Slavonic sedra "cinder").

Initial s- changed to c- under influence of unrelated French cendre "ashes," from Latin cinerem (nominative cinis) "ashes," from or related to Greek konis "dust" (see incinerate). The French word also apparently shifted the sense of the English one to "small piece of burnt coal" (16c.). Volcanic cinder cone is recorded from 1849.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with cinder


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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