carboniferous (adj.)

1799, "coal-bearing, containing or yielding carbon or coal," from Latin carbo (genitive carbonis) "coal" (see carbon) + -ferous "producing, containing, bearing," from ferre "to bear" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children").

Used in designating the rocks which formed the great coal-beds of England, France, Germany and the United States; from 1832 with reference to the geological period when these were laid down. As a stand-alone noun (short for Carboniferous Period) by 1907.

updated on October 09, 2017

Definitions of carboniferous from WordNet
carboniferous (adj.)
of or relating to the Carboniferous geologic era;
carboniferous rock system
carboniferous (adj.)
relating to or consisting of or yielding carbon;
Synonyms: carbonaceous / carbonous / carbonic
Carboniferous (n.)
from 345 million to 280 million years ago;
Synonyms: Carboniferous period
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