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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The latter should be wrapped in thin linen covers to prevent the charcoal working its way into the tissues.

  • Do you remember that picture you drew with charcoal on a piece of pine board?

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • Pour the same liquor through the barrel, containing the charcoal, and pure water will be obtained as a result.

    The Elements of Agriculture George E. Waring
  • Already she had won a prize with a charcoal study of a bare back.

  • There are moments when my affliction is so great, that I think seriously of charcoal.

    Pencil Sketches Eliza Leslie
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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