Definition of collier in English:



  • 1A coal miner.

    • ‘Once the country's leading coal producer, in 1860 its colliers accounted for just 2.4 percent of the national total.’
    • ‘That is why the fuel tax protestors are being decried as the new ‘enemy within’, as the Tories once dubbed Britain's colliers.’
    • ‘He remained a collier until he was 23, by which time he had become an agent of the Lanarkshire Miners Union.’
    • ‘The first snippet has the author reminding us of the extraordinarily rich literary culture of the South Wales colliers.’
    • ‘Samuel Bradshaw, 53, collier, Roscow Road, Kearsley, died about 6.30 pm yesterday evening as the result of a fall of roof the same morning whilst he was working in the Trencherbone pit of the Clifton and Kearsley Coal Company.’
    • ‘She sat me down one day - I'd be about 10 or 11 years old - and told me how the colliers in her pit village went on strike over a five-and-a-half day week.’
    • ‘And this 1920s photograph of colliers at the Gambleside pit which was located on the far side of Clowbridge Reservoir near Dunnockshaw, shows mere boys among the workforce.’
    • ‘He can trace his ancestors in this area back to 1650, a long line of shepherds, coopers, weavers and the occasional collier.’
    • ‘Having got the assistance of a number of colliers from the Castlecomer area they had made their way to the hill of Kilcumney and decided to camp there for the night.’
    • ‘A collier, only 29 years of age, he also, like William Sykes, was a strong powerful man with a barrel chest and muscular stature.’
    • ‘These skills had been honed during the late 1950s and early 60s at Cambridge, which he entered from the choir school at Southwell Minster in his home county of Nottinghamshire, where he was born the son of a collier and a teacher.’
    • ‘Consider also the colliers and pitmen and coal merchants and coal trains and the men who drive them and the ships that carry coals - what an army of servants do the machines thus employ!’
    • ‘In the mining towns of South Wales, colliers had pennies deducted from their wages to support their own libraries, more than 100 of them by 1934.’
    • ‘Relations between colliers and their employers were uneasy, often bitter; after decades of struggle, strikes were commonplace, absenteeism widespread.’
    • ‘However, there is no indication that the GMA mines entered into contractual agreements of this type, and there was certainly no owners' association in Nova Scotia to clip the colliers ' wings.’
    • ‘Pauline's family were colliers, and her father worked part time as a singer and comedian in working men's clubs.’
    • ‘The oldest and sickest miners already have priority, but Mr Wilson announced that widows of former colliers would also get fast-track treatment.’
    • ‘In 1701 a statute declared that habeas corpus did not apply to the miners and in 1708 it was enacted that a collier escaping could be brought back within eight years.’
    • ‘In the case of the Maamba strike, there was no reason for the colliers to resort to such action.’
    • ‘He is not by any means the first collier who has been found to possess a very sweet tenor voice. Attired in his working clothes, with the pick and lighted lamp in his hand, he was cordially welcomed by two large houses on Monday.’
  • 2A ship carrying coal.

    • ‘Earlier, Reeves had served as skipper of the new collier Jupiter, and when the Navy converted it to the first US aircraft carrier USS Langley in 1924, he became her first commander.’
    • ‘The slipway would have been used to take small boats from the house to the colliers - coal ships - moored in the upper harbour.’
    • ‘He'd had a long experience as a seaman initially from 1746 when he was still a very young fellow he'd worked in colliers which are rather simple ships that we used along the east coast of England to transport coal from one port to another.’
    • ‘The U.S. armada at Culebra was swelled by a flotilla of support vessels, including colliers and torpedo boats.’
    • ‘ON April 25, 1915, an old collier, the River Clyde, steamed towards Cape Helles on the Turkish coast.’
    • ‘In 1922, the navy commissioned its first aircraft carrier, the Langley, a converted collier.’
    • ‘An experimental vessel, the Hugh Lindsay, was built in Bombay, powered by engines sent from England, and launched for Suez in 1829; a collier loaded with Welsh coal (sent via the Cape) went ahead, convoyed by a sailing brig the Thetis.’
    • ‘In Newcastle the Hunter River is navigable by what I will call 60-mile colliers right up to Hexham and those colliers used to carry coal from Hexham down to Sydney.’
    • ‘It is an unusual design of ship, a collier with engine-room aft and wheelhouse amidships.’
    • ‘The Keynes was a 1706 ton Stevenson Clark collier, sunk by a German bomber in 1940.’
    • ‘This steam collier grounded off north Cornwall in 1916 and makes for an interesting dive if you don't mind a little deco, says John Liddiard.’
    • ‘Twenty-eight-year-old Hobson designed a plan to position the old collier Memmac across the inlet, then to set off a series of detonations to sink her.’
    • ‘The Grane was a 1122 ton Norwegian collier, torpedoed by UB80 on 9 March 1918 and more broken up.’
    • ‘In April 1915, a converted collier named The River Clyde was used as an improvised landing craft to put ashore Allied troops near Cape Helles, at the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula.’
    • ‘With its repair ship, colliers, and hospital ships, it was a forerunner of the Task Force concept used four decades later in another war against Japan.’
    • ‘The fact remains, however, that the pioneer modern collier, the John Bowes of 1852, had a carrying capacity of only 650 tons.’
    • ‘Virginia colliers shipped their coal up and down the eastern seaboard, and enjoyed a first-mover advantage so critical to the success of young industries.’
    • ‘The Parodi, a 337 ft long collier, carried war cargoes of coal from Wales to the Mediterranean for the next two years.’
    • ‘The original Endeavour was built in Whitby in 1764 as a collier.’
    • ‘He therefore chose a collier for this expedition, and it was converted into a naval vessel.’


Middle English: from coal + -ier. The original sense was ‘maker of charcoal’, who usually brought it to market, hence ‘person selling charcoal’, later ‘person selling coal’, whence the current senses.