- a ship for carrying coal.
- a coal miner.
- Obsolete. a person who carries or sells coal.
1276, "charcoal maker and seller," from M.E. col (see coal). They were notorious for cheating. Sense of "ship for hauling coal" is from 1625.
"At that time, the steam-traffic on the Thames was far below its present extent, and water men's boats were far more numerous. Of barges, sailing colliers, and coasting-traders, there were perhaps, as many as now; but of steam-ships, great and small, not a tithe or a twentieth as many."
- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations