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Carboniferous

[kahr-buh-nif-er-uh s] /ˌkɑr bəˈnɪf ər əs/
adjective
1.
noting or pertaining to a period of the Paleozoic Era, including the Pennsylvanian and Mississippian periods as epochs, occurring from 345 million to 280 million years ago.
2.
(lowercase) producing carbon or coal.
noun
3.
the Carboniferous Period or System.
Origin
1790-1800
1790-1800; < Latin carbōn- (stem of carbō) coal + -i- + -ferous
Related forms
post-Carboniferous, adjective
pre-Carboniferous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for postcarboniferous

carboniferous

/ˌkɑːbəˈnɪfərəs/
adjective
1.
yielding coal or carbon

Carboniferous

/ˌkɑːbəˈnɪfərəs/
adjective
1.
of, denoting, or formed in the fifth period of the Palaeozoic era, between the Devonian and Permian periods, lasting for nearly 64 million years during which coal measures were formed
noun
2.
the Carboniferous, the Carboniferous period or rock system
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 postcarboniferous

Carboniferous

adj.

1830 with reference the geological period, from a word formed in English in 1799 to mean "coal-bearing," from Latin carbo (genitive carbonis) "coal" (see carbon) + -ferous "producing, containing, bearing," from ferre "to bear" (see infer). The great coal beds of Europe were laid down during this period. As a stand-alone noun (short for Carboniferous Period) from 1940s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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postcarboniferous in Science
Carboniferous
  (kär'bə-nĭf'ər-əs)   
The period of geologic time from about 360 to 286 million years ago. The term is used throughout the world, although this period of time has been separated into the Mississippian (lower Carboniferous) and Pennsylvanian (upper Carboniferous) in the United States. During this time, widespread swamps formed in which plant remains accumulated and later hardened into coal. See Chart at geologic time.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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