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 formscin·der·y, cin·der·ous, adjectivecin·der·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cinder

ember, soot, clinker

Examples from the Web for cinder

Contemporary Examples of cinder

  • The story opens with an appearance from the Brothers Grimm, asking an elderly woman to verify the story of a cinder girl.

    The Daily Beast logo
    12 Sexed-Up Fairy Tales

    Alex Berg

    March 8, 2011

  • At that moment, three or four shots rang out almost simultaneously, echoing throughout the cinder block building.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Eyewitness to the Firing Squad

    Lawrence Schiller

    April 25, 2010

Historical Examples of cinder

  • It crisped the poor fellow to a cinder, and sheared the head of my comrade clean off.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • "I'll see you dogs burned to a cinder in the sun first," he growled.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • What's to be done, then, if a man be drowned at sea, or burned to a cinder in a lime-kiln?

    A Day's Ride

    Charles James Lever

  • His mouth was as dry as a cinder, and his face was wet with perspiration—and tears.

    Tales of Unrest

    Joseph Conrad

  • "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
(plural) fragments of volcanic lava; scoriae


(tr) rare to burn to cinders
Derived Formscindery, adjective

Word Origin for cinder

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

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

Idioms and Phrases with cinder


see burned to a cinder.

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