Definition of charcoal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈCHärˌkōl/


1A porous black solid, consisting of an amorphous form of carbon, obtained as a residue when wood, bone, or other organic matter is heated in the absence of air.
Example sentences
  • When burnt, charcoal gives off carbon monoxide which can kill in a confined space.
  • Carbon, in the forms of charcoal, graphite, and diamond, was one of the earliest elements known to man.
  • He also proved that diamond and charcoal both consist of carbon atoms, so are chemically identical.
1.1Briquettes of charcoal used for barbecuing: lamb grilled on charcoal
1.2A drawing made using charcoal.
Example sentences
  • On view until October 29, the exhibit presents 55 of the 300 known watercolors, pastels and charcoals by the late artist - many of which have never been seen before.
  • His first two solo shows were a blizzard of styles, combining watercolours and charcoals, landscapes and portraits, and religious paintings crafted lovingly by a committed atheist.
  • If a visitor familiar with the charcoals had come in not knowing this was a show of Weiss's prints, it would have become apparent only when she or he came face to face with the central image in Thoughts, a lithograph.
1.3A dark gray color: [as modifier]: his charcoal sweater
More example sentences
  • The sky was a deep charcoal gray outside of the bus.
  • In the distance, bare branches sketched a thin pencil outline against the charcoal gray sky.
  • High cheekbones emphasized her straight nose, full lips, and stunning charcoal gray eyes.


(usually as adjective charcoaled)
Cook over charcoal: charcoaled lobster
More example sentences
  • I stick the marshmallows into the water and audibly sigh at the hiss and steam rising from the charcoaled treat.
  • The charcoaled boned chicken sparkles with a spicy and smoky flavour.
  • Some experts suggest limiting consumption of charcoaled and grilled foods.


Late Middle English: probably related to coal in the early sense 'charcoal'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: char·coal

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