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 Gas and charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide and also should be used only outside. Dana Branham, Dallas News, "16 people at The Bridge homeless shelter taken to hospitals after positive carbon monoxide reading," 2 Feb. 2020 The charcoal infusion seemed to do little more than offer a dark palette for the grimy bits of food to land on. Lauren Goode, Wired, "Don't Brush Off Mouth Tech As a Passing Fad," 24 Jan. 2020 The car, a charcoal gray four-door Nissan sedan, was seen getting on Interstate 80 and has not been located. Anna Bauman,, "Berkeley hit-and-run victim identified as 58-year-old homeless woman," 21 Jan. 2020 Activated charcoal sucks in odors and acts as a room deodorizer. Billy Cadden, Popular Science, "The best air purifiers for your home," 16 Jan. 2020 A dozen animals grazed in front of a row of several red brick charcoal kilns, built 130 years ago. Joshua Berman, The Know, "Vacation with mountain lions, bobcats and bison only four hours away from Denver," 27 Dec. 2019 True, the generations gone by may have done some pretty awful stuff to one another, but does that really justify teaching this generation and the next to hold on to the burning charcoals of hatred and never consider re-integrating as one nation? Roshan Radhakrishnan, Quartz India, "If you’ve watched “Black-ish,” you know there’ll never be an Indian “Dalit-ish” or “Muslim-ish”," 26 Aug. 2019 Though the column has come to an end, devout lovers of their kitchen methods can read refer to the Tart cookbook, or beeline to Wild by Tart, where the open kitchen, wood burning oven and charcoal grills make for an ambrosial experience. Carmen Rosy Hall, Vogue, "A Recipe for Boxing Day Ramen, From the Women Behind London’s Coolest New Restaurant," 24 Dec. 2019 This is also good time to check the heat levels and whether your cooking device may require additional wood or charcoal. Chuck Blount,, "A whole Thanksgiving meal cooked on the grill and smoker," 20 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some will be serving dishes for which they’re known; Edward Kim will feature his Mott St.'s Mini-Mott burger, and John Manion (El Che Steakhouse & Bar) will charcoal roast and grill proteins. Phil Vettel,, "First look: What to know about Time Out Market, opening Thursday in Chicago’s Fulton Market," 20 Nov. 2019 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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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

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Charcoal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for charcoal


How to pronounce charcoal (audio)

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

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