One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Native or mined coal, as distinct from charcoal. Also: †a variety of coal in which there are no traces of plant structure (obsolete).
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), revolutionary politician and president of the United States of America. From mineral + coal.
mineral coal/ˈmɪn(ə)r(ə)l ˌkəʊl//ˈmɪn(ə)rəl ˌkəʊl/
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