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[chahr-kohl] /ˈtʃɑrˌkoʊl/
the carbonaceous material obtained by heating wood or other organic substances in the absence of air.
a drawing pencil of charcoal.
a drawing made with charcoal.
verb (used with object)
to blacken, write, or draw with charcoal.
to cook (food) over charcoal, especially on a grill.
verb (used without object)
to cook food over charcoal, especially on a grill.
Origin of charcoal
1300-50; Middle English charcole, perhaps cherre char3 + cole coal, though literal sense of the compound is unclear
Related forms
charcoaly, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for charcoal
  • Maybe you should mix in some actuated charcoal to absorb a tiny bit of the smell.
  • Put several pieces of activated charcoal on a paper towel and set it in the middle of the room.
  • In addition, commercial charcoal makers also harvest oak trees.
  • The block is so arranged that it smoulders slowly and is not finally reduced to charcoal till the expiry of a year.
  • The lady was sketching in charcoal the head of her future husband, although she wore no widow's veil.
  • With charcoal gray cloth and stamped red leaf accents, it's a stunner.
  • Nearby, a charcoal-fired wok sizzles, spewing spicy smoke into the hot breeze.
  • The trees used-up for charcoal and concrete and steel imported.
  • The explosive he described was composed of six parts of saltpetre to five parts of charcoal and five parts of sulphur.
  • charcoal burning is forbidden for the sake of the environment.
British Dictionary definitions for charcoal


a black amorphous form of carbon made by heating wood or other organic matter in the absence of air: used as a fuel, in smelting metal ores, in explosives, and as an absorbent See activated carbon
a stick or pencil of this for drawing
a drawing done in charcoal
short for charcoal grey
(transitive) to write, draw, or blacken with charcoal
Word Origin
C14: from char (origin obscure) + coal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for charcoal

mid-14c., charcole, first element is either Old French charbon "charcoal," or, on the current theory, obsolete charren "to turn" (from Old English cerran) + cole "coal," thus, "to turn to coal."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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charcoal in Medicine

charcoal char·coal (chär'kōl')

  1. Carbon obtained by heating or burning organic material with restricted access of air.

  2. Activated charcoal.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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charcoal in Science
A black porous form of carbon produced by heating wood or bone in little or no air. Charcoal is used as a fuel, for drawing, and in air and water filters.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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