Carboniferous (adj.) Look up Carboniferous at
1830 with reference the geological period, from a word formed in English in 1799 to mean "coal-bearing," from Latin carbo (genitive carbonis) "coal" (see carbon) + -ferous "producing, containing, bearing," from ferre "to bear" (see infer). The great coal beds of Europe were laid down during this period. As a stand-alone noun (short for Carboniferous Period) from 1940s.