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 First and foremost, equip your home with a natural gas detector and smoke detectors, and consider using charcoal instead of a gas grill to reduce the risk of gas leaks. Sharon Waters, SELF, "6 Ways to Cope With Having No Sense of Smell (From Coronavirus or Anything Else)," 3 Mar. 2021 Some believe it was created up north by charcoal minors; while others say American GIs had a hand in its creation; and a third group believes 19th century Neapolitans are responsible for this dish. Jeremy Repanich, Robb Report, "Watch How to Make Carbonara From the Chef Behind Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Gucci," 1 Mar. 2021 This is a knockout charcoal that would work with anything, and it’s the runaway winner of the test. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, "Chuck Blount tests 6 charcoal brands to see which is the best: H-E-B, Kingsford, Jack Daniel's, B&B, Royal Oak and Viva Pancho," 15 Feb. 2021 The show’s theme is poignantly captured in an untitled charcoal and chalk drawing by the French abstractionist Hans Hartung from 1960. Eric Gibson, WSJ, "‘Degree Zero: Drawing at Midcentury’ Review: Sketching a Path Into a New Era," 5 Dec. 2020 This sumptuous scrub from Sunday Riley is packed with clarifying ingredients like charcoal and salicylic acid. Rachel Feltman, Popular Science, "Skincare gifts that are actually worth the splurge," 17 Nov. 2020 But where huge forests once stood, the land has been clear-cut for fields or charcoal. Erik Vance, Star Tribune, "Endangered lemurs find refuge in Madagascar," 31 Oct. 2020 Where massive forests once stood, the land has been clear-cut for fields or charcoal. Erik Vance, New York Times, "In Madagascar, Endangered Lemurs Find a Private Refuge," 26 Oct. 2020 Mitigation techniques exist, like reverse osmosis, flash detente and charcoal filtering, though their efficacy is not entirely clear. Esther Mobley,, "Many California wineries will make no wine this year because of wildfire smoke," 17 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb During her more than 40-year career, London has become known for her mainly charcoal pieces depicting the spirit, majesty and emotions of some of the planet’s endangered species. Sarah Bonnette | Contributing Writer,, "Anne London: Humankind's connection to animals in new exhibition," 7 Feb. 2021 The Hardin, named after outlaw John Wesley Hardin is a gorgeous top-break revolver with a color-case frame and charcoal blue barrel. Chris Mudgett, Outdoor Life, "The Best New Handguns For 2021," 25 Jan. 2021 Interior details—charcoal upper dash and window sills with shades of beige below—are exceptionally pleasing for this price class. Patrick Bedard, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2007 Compact Car Comparison," 18 Nov. 2020 Neither charcoal lighter fluid nor gasoline contain toluene as a single component, Jackson wrote. Washington Post, "A flawed investigation left Jason Lively behind bars for 15 years for a fire he didn’t set. He’s not alone.," 22 Oct. 2020 Archaeologists often date things like food remains, charcoal from cooking hearths or wood in the building where they are found. Jessica Stone, The Conversation, "Archaeologists determined the step-by-step path taken by the first people to settle the Caribbean islands," 29 Sep. 2020 Through technique and control of pencil/charcoal this six-week course will teach students how to utilize the current skills of each student and how to build on them., "Community News For The Vernon Edition," 21 Aug. 2020 The color palette shifted from the beige and olive green of roadside scrub to charcoal trunks and scorched leaves in shades of orange, an uncanny simulacrum of autumn. David Maurice Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Great Koala Rescue Operation," 10 June 2020 Gas on the left, charcoal in the center, and a smoker on the far right. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Your Ultimate Grill Buying Guide—Tested and Approved," 8 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for charcoal Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for charcoal

Last Updated

7 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Charcoal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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Comments on charcoal

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