Definition of carbonize in US English:


(British carbonise)


[with object]
  • 1Convert into carbon, typically by heating or burning, or during fossilization.

    ‘the steak was carbonized on the outside’
    • ‘Ultraviolet radiation penetrates the coating and carbonizes the oils in the wood, causing the wood to darken beneath the varnish.’
    • ‘For example, items that are more likely to come into contact with fire, such as the byproducts of food processing rather than food items themselves, are more likely to be carbonized.’
    • ‘When drilling a deep hole in timber, periodically clean the waste out of the flutes, otherwise it will carbonise, overheat the bit and burn the timber.’
    • ‘As for the animal bones, Smithson noted that almost all were carbonized, and included lamb vertebrae, as well as two larger vertebrae, probably from a calf.’
    • ‘The tightly rolled papyri caught in the eruption of AD79 were first carbonised and then, when the pumice and ash moulded around them, effectively sealed in airtight stone vaults.’
    • ‘If you don't stir it, the porridge on the base of the pan will reach the high temperature of the hot plate and carbonise - ie burn!’
    • ‘It was not until 1897 that they settled on cotton thread that had been carbonized as the best they could do.’
    • ‘One firefighter described the scene as ‘the apocalypse, we couldn't see anything or anyone, and then we began to find the bodies scattered around the area, completely carbonised.’
    • ‘In six weeks, they excavated the remains of a home, which had been carbonized from the extreme heat of the volcanic eruption.’
    • ‘However, because foodstuffs available in the spring, such as greens and flowers, are not likely to be carbonized or preserved in archaeobotanical samples, a spring-time occupation cannot be ruled out.’
    • ‘The major assumption underlying the sorting and identification of the botanical material was that only items that were charred or partially carbonized represented prehistoric material.’
    • ‘Many identifiable examples of giant tree fern have perished as they will have been crushed and carbonised over the millennia to become the coal so important to Yorkshire's heritage.’
    burn, burn up, reduce to ashes, consume by fire
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually as adjective carbonized Coat with carbon.
      • ‘The carbonized fibers are then "activated" through oxidation of a part of the carbon and the resulting formation of a highly porous structure.’
      • ‘The Japanese were particularly skilled at carbonizing the edge to make it extremely tough.’
      • ‘Carbon paper is thin tissue, which has been carbonized (carbon coated) with a hot melt application of a waxy base and pigment, usually black or blue.’