Ash, Cinders, Clinkers and Embers all mean the remains of combustible material after it has been destroyed by fire.
Ash, especially as the plural ashes, implies perfect combustion and a powdery residue consisting only of incombustible and thoroughly disintegrated mineral or earthy substances.
- devices used to trap fly ash
- wood ashes are used as a fertilizer
- the house and its furnishings were reduced to ashes
Sometimes the singular ash suggests a solid mass, not yet disintegrated.
- the ash of a cigar
Cinders carries the implication of either incomplete combustion or incombustibility and is applied to a residue, usually of a coal fire, consisting of coarse particles which, if the combustion is incomplete, are capable of further burning.
- sift the ashes from the cinders
Or which are the remains of incombustible impurities in the fuel and may also be called clinkers. Strictly, a clinker is a fused or vitrified stony mass such as is formed in burning impure coal or in smelting metals containing impurities, or is ejected from a volcano; thus, cinders composed mainly of small clinkers are often used for surfacing paths, driveways, and tracks for footraces.
Embers is applied to the still glowing or still smoldering remains of a fire just before it is reduced to ashes or cinders.