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.

1300–50; Middle English charcole, perhaps cherre char3 + cole coal, though literal sense of the compound is unclear

charcoaly, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
charcoal (ˈtʃɑːˌkəʊl)
1.  See activated carbon 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
2.  a stick or pencil of this for drawing
3.  a drawing done in charcoal
4.  short for charcoal grey
5.  (tr) to write, draw, or blacken with charcoal
[C14: from char (origin obscure) + coal]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-14c., first element is either O.Fr. charbon "charcoal," or, on the current theory, obs. charren "to turn" (from O.E. cerran) + cole "coal," thus, "to turn to coal."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
charcoal   (chär'kōl')  Pronunciation Key 
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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Example sentences
Maybe you should mix in some actuated charcoal to absorb a tiny bit of the
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.
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