noun Chemistry.

  1. Also called carbon 14. a radioactive isotope of carbon with mass number 14 and a half-life of about 5730 years: widely used in the dating of organic materials.
  2. any radioactive isotope of carbon.


  1. a radioactive isotope of carbon, esp carbon-14See carbon (def. 1)

“Carbon-14,” 1940, from radio-, comb. form of radioactive, + carbon. Radio-carbon dating is attested from 1949.

  1. A radioactive isotope of carbon, especially carbon 14. Other radiocarbons include carbon 10, carbon 11, carbon 15, and carbon 16.
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