char·​coal | \ ˈchär-ˌkōl How to pronounce charcoal (audio) \

Definition of charcoal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a dark or black porous carbon prepared from vegetable or animal substances (as from wood by charring in a kiln from which air is excluded)
2a : a piece or pencil of fine charcoal used in drawing
b : a charcoal drawing
3 : a dark gray


charcoaled; charcoaling; charcoals

Definition of charcoal (Entry 2 of 2)

Examples of charcoal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Once combined with the rub, the meat is cooked over a bed of charcoal, often with some pimento wood. Nick Kindelsperger,, "The 5 best jerk chicken dishes on Chicago’s South Side," 13 June 2019 Whether your grill is gas or charcoal, cook to the side of the flame, not directly on top. Andrea Thelen, Ms, Detroit Free Press, "6 tips for healthy and safe grilling," 9 July 2018 Each recipe has instructions for both gas and charcoal grills. Barry Estabrook, WSJ, "Summer Books: Food," 23 May 2018 The collection includes four $12 Body Washes: Dignity (a creamy blend of charcoal and cotton blossom), Hope (a soothing aloe and avocado gel cleanser), Joy (with a citrus and honeysuckle scent), and Strength (a ginger and currant blend). Marci Robin, Allure, "Right to Shower Is the New Brand Ensuring Homeless People Have Access to Hygiene Services," 20 Apr. 2019 On Tuesday, fire hoses snaked across the ground thick with crushed bits of charcoal, shattered glass, and charred planks of wood. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Fire at Gascoigne Lumber on North Queen Anne was arson, Seattle fire officials say," 13 Nov. 2018 And Briogeo’s Scalp Treatment calls on a blend of charcoal, tea tree, and witch hazel to help regulate and restore your scalp’s pH balance—because smart skin care doesn’t stop at the face. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Why a Scalp Detox Is the Key to a Good Hair Day," 17 July 2018 Stead’s use of charcoal, pastel and crayon adds to the quiet, tender feeling that suffuses the collection. New York Times, "Brief Tales for New Readers and Little Listeners From Philip Stead and More," 29 June 2018 The bun is black from the charcoal baked into the batter-a popular, if medically unproven, health craze-and a bit spongier. Lucas Shaw, The Seattle Times, "From pig-shaped bao to ‘Pac Man’ dumplings, chefs now make dim sum for the Instagram generation," 25 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Bruce Gilbert Miami Herald File All that remained in the rubble was a charcoaled safe that contained some of the company’s accounts receivable and payable records. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "The family businessman who helped grow Norton Tire into a national symbol," 4 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'charcoal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of charcoal


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1965, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for charcoal


Middle English charcole

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Statistics for charcoal

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for charcoal

The first known use of charcoal was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for charcoal



English Language Learners Definition of charcoal

: a hard black material that is made by burning wood with a small amount of air
: a dark gray color


char·​coal | \ ˈchär-ˌkōl How to pronounce charcoal (audio) \

Kids Definition of charcoal

: a black or dark absorbent fuel made by heating wood in the absence of air


char·​coal | \ ˈchär-ˌkōl How to pronounce charcoal (audio) \

Medical Definition of charcoal

: a dark or black porous carbon prepared from vegetable or animal substances (as from wood by charring in a kiln from which air is excluded) — see activated charcoal

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More from Merriam-Webster on charcoal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with charcoal

Spanish Central: Translation of charcoal

Nglish: Translation of charcoal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of charcoal for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about charcoal

Comments on charcoal

What made you want to look up charcoal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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