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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for cindery
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His mother tried to quiet him, but he smiled his dead smile at her through his cindery eyes, shook his head and went on.

    In Our Town William Allen White
  • There were also the bodies of hunters smoking inside their cindery shirts.

    The Scalp Hunters Mayne Reid
  • For the cindery nature of the surface of such a stream see the initial letter of this chapter.

  • The sky was dull and leaden, and cindery flakes of snow were thinly falling.

    Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood George MacDonald
  • It feels like an old volcano, cindery, with fire somewhere:—a charming bride!

    Vittoria, Complete George Meredith
  • The cindery tuff of these remains has weathered into very fantastic shapes.

    Across Iceland William Bisiker
  • She saw Thelma kiss him, and then the two started down the sunny, cindery side-track together.

    The Reclaimers Margaret Hill McCarter
  • The damp, yellow-brick schoolbuilding in its cindery grounds.

    Main Street Sinclair Lewis
  • Sometimes these cindery surfaces undulate and take the appearance of black coils, as of a huge cable laid in parallel folds.

British Dictionary definitions for cindery


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 cindery



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 cindery


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