1 of 5

noun (1)

variants or less commonly charr
plural char or chars also charr or charrs
: any of a genus (Salvelinus) of small-scaled trouts with light-colored spots


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verb (1)

charred; charring

transitive verb

: to convert to charcoal or carbon usually by heat : burn
: to burn slightly or partly : scorch
the fire charred the beams


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noun (2)

plural chars
: a charred substance : charcoal
specifically : a combustible residue remaining after the destructive distillation of coal
: a darkened crust produced on grilled food
Because gas grills generally produce less heat than charcoal grills, the steak requires a longer cooking time (and less frequent flipping) to develop a nice char.David Pazmiño


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verb (2)

charred; charring

intransitive verb

: to work as a cleaning woman


5 of 5

noun (3)


Examples of char in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
In all instances, investigators begin their search by looking for indicators — residue and charred remains that tell the story of the fire’s passage. John Riha, Discover Magazine, 12 Nov. 2023 Even after the shelters had been nominally cleaned, their interiors were charred, their walls pockmarked by bullets and shrapnel and their ceilings spattered with blood. Isabel Kershner Amit Elkayam, New York Times, 11 Nov. 2023 Texas Department of Public Safety Images from the scene of the crash show the two vehicles entirely decimated and charred. Gina Martinez, CBS News, 8 Nov. 2023 The streets were lined with debris: a truck riddled with bullets, charred washing machines and bicycles, the carcass of a neighbor’s dog. Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, 7 Nov. 2023 Bake broccolini: Bake in preheated oven until charred and stems are tender, about 15 minutes. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 6 Nov. 2023 Truck fire chars 5,000 pumpkins on 5 Freeway Oct. 25, 2023 Aside from pumpkin smashing there will be kids activities, free food, free bike repairs and an electronic waste collection site. Karen Garcia, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2023 Dark roast: Coffee that falls under the dark roast category ranges from slightly dark to charred. Amanda MacMillan, Health, 29 Oct. 2023 Dozens of bicycles, the primary means of getting around here, lie charred on the ground. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 28 Oct. 2023
Advocates say that in the event of catastrophic fire, the thick beams would slowly char rather than combust, and that even then, the timber would burn at a steady, measurable rate — unlike steel, which melts and suddenly folds. William Booth, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2023 The footage includes photographs of two babies that had been shot in the head and two infants who appear to have been burnt to a char. Anna Schecter, NBC News, 28 Oct. 2023 The cheese melted nicely and the crust was crispy and puffed up with some good char marks. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 31 Oct. 2023 Cooking the chicken breasts on the high heat of the grill imparts lovely char—and means that dinner will be ready in no time. Karen Schroeder-Rankin, Southern Living, 22 Oct. 2023 These frigid Arctic waters aren’t particularly productive, biologically speaking, meaning there isn’t normally a tremendous amount for native species like Dolly Varden and Arctic char to eat. WIRED, 18 Oct. 2023 Though many Mesoamerican homes use a comal, a flat pan made of steel or heat-resistant clay, to char vegetables, Gutierrez uses a cast-iron skillet to get the job done. Sandra A. Gutierrez, Saveur, 11 Oct. 2023 Indeed, this tequila is full of flavor, but not dominated by tannic oak and char. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 26 Sep. 2023 Jeremy Rashaad Baker, 32, of Flowery Branch, is facing murder and armed robbery char ... David Aaro, ajc, 23 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'char.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

origin unknown

Verb (1)


Verb (2)


Noun (3)

by shortening

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1662, in the meaning defined above

Verb (1)

1679, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1732, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1906, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of char was in 1662

Dictionary Entries Near char

Cite this Entry

“Char.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 noun
plural char or chars
: any of a genus of trouts that have small scales and include the common brook trout


2 of 3 verb
charred; charring
: to change or become changed to charcoal or carbon usually by heat : burn
: to burn or become burned partly or slightly : scorch


3 of 3 noun

More from Merriam-Webster on char

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