char·coal | \ˈchär-ˌkōl \

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

Even boutique bar soap ain’t cheap: Saturdays NYC Moisturizing Bar Soap, made by a men's wear label, is $20 and Binu Binu Shaman Black Charcoal Soap is $18 (yes, charcoal — that which used to smudge chimney sweeps). Tyler Watamanuk, New York Times, "When Did Soap, Once Simple, Get So Complicated?," 11 July 2018 Garlic: Those stray pieces and half bulbs that are probably stowed away in the butter shelf of the fridge are perfect additions to the hot charcoal. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, "Add a little more flavor to your grill with fragrant ingredients," 2 July 2018 There is a large charcoal grill at the back of the patio where Guzman prepares the brats, and also grills hotdogs, by request. Myrna Petlicki, Lake County News-Sun, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Dockside Dogs in Waukegan," 10 July 2018 Mission Bay was a vast quilt of campers, sun umbrellas, picnickers, water skiers, sail boaters, bicyclists, joggers and Frisbee tossers — the smell of charcoal grills drifted onto Interstate 5., "July 5, 1976: San Diego celebrates U.S. Bicentennial," 5 July 2018 Disassembly Report No one knows the appeal of a charcoal grill more than a Weber aficionado, but there’s a reason the storied grill-maker also sells gas grills. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Things Come Apart: Gas Grill," 2 July 2018 Everyday heating and cooking appliances like charcoal grills and furnaces can create CO, as can devices like generators and running cars. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Emergency Responders Share 9 of the Biggest Death Traps in Your Home," 14 July 2018 Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes. Adam Ried,, "Recipes: Switch it up with lamb burgers instead of beef," 13 July 2018 Coddington makes this suggestion: After lighting piles of charcoal, put the lid on the grill and mostly close the bottom vent. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Ribs 101: Pitmasters offer advice on cooking ribs," 1 July 2018

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

23 Sep 2018

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 \

Kids Definition of charcoal

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


char·coal | \ˈchär-ˌkōl \

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

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


lying above or upon

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