Active carbon – Definition & Meaning

Active carbon is a substance that has been used for centuries for various purposes. It is a form of carbon that has been treated to make it highly porous and able to absorb impurities and toxins from the environment. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of active carbon, its origin, and its associations in different contexts.


Active carbon, also known as activated carbon or activated charcoal, is a form of carbon that has been treated with oxygen to create a highly porous surface area. This surface area allows active carbon to absorb impurities, toxins, and other harmful substances from the environment.


The use of active carbon dates back to ancient times, where it was used for medicinal purposes. The Egyptians used it to treat intestinal disorders, while the Greeks used it to treat wounds and other ailments. In the modern era, active carbon has been used in various industries, including water treatment, air purification, and food processing.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, active carbon is defined as “a form of carbon that has been treated to increase its surface area and porosity, used for adsorbing impurities from gases or liquids.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “a form of carbon that is processed to make it porous and highly adsorbent, especially for removing impurities from liquids and gases.”


Active carbon is commonly associated with water treatment, where it is used to remove impurities and contaminants from drinking water. It is also used in air purification systems to remove pollutants and toxins from the air. In the food industry, active carbon is used to remove impurities and improve the taste and appearance of food products.


Some synonyms of active carbon include activated carbon, activated charcoal, and activated carbon fiber.


There are no direct antonyms of active carbon, but some opposite concepts may include impurities, toxins, and pollutants.

The same root words

The root word of active carbon is “carbon,” which refers to a chemical element with the symbol C and atomic number 6. Carbon is a nonmetallic element that is essential to life and is found in all living organisms.

Example Sentences

  • The water treatment plant uses active carbon to remove impurities from the drinking water.
  • The air purification system uses active carbon filters to remove pollutants from the air.
  • The food processing plant uses active carbon to improve the taste and appearance of their products.
  • The doctor prescribed activated charcoal tablets to help alleviate the patient’s stomach discomfort.
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