- a nonmetallic chemical element found in many inorganic compounds and all organic compounds: diamond and graphite are pure carbon; carbon is the basic element in coal, coke, charcoal, soot, etc.: symbol, C; at. no. 6: a radioactive isotope (carbon-14) is used as a tracer in chemical and biochemical research, and, because of its half-life of 5,730 years and its presence in all carbon-containing matter, it is a means of dating archaeological specimens, fossils, etc.
- a sheet of carbon paper
- carbon copy
- a stick of carbon used in an arc lamp
- a carbon plate or rod used in a battery
Origin of carbonFrench carbone from Classical Latin carbo (gen. carbonis), coal from Indo-European base an unverified form ker-, to burn from source hearth