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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 cinders
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Before the cinders were cool, McCormick had given orders to build a new factory, larger than the one that had been burned down.

    Cyrus Hall McCormick Herbert Newton Casson
  • Before the stove the cinders of the previous winter still lay in a heap.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • I would do that, and burn every monk to cinders if I had time and men enough.

    The Serf Guy Thorne
  • He would do nothing but sit on the stove and play with the cinders.

  • Often columns of cinders were blown about them and threatened to choke them, or torrents of lava barred their path.

  • The prairie was covered with cinders, and the grass was burned and withered.

    The Settlers in Canada Frederick Marryat
  • Dust and cinders pour in at doors and windows with the hot air.

    Gulf and Glacier Willis Boyd Allen
  • The prairie was covered with cinders, and the grass was burnt and withered.

    The Settlers in Canada Frederick Marryat
  • Don was surprised to discover how soft he was in spite of his daily exercise on the cinders.

    Left Guard Gilbert Ralph Henry Barbour
British Dictionary definitions for cinders


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 cinders



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 cinders


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