• synonyms


See more synonyms for charcoal on Thesaurus.com
  1. the carbonaceous material obtained by heating wood or other organic substances in the absence of air.
  2. a drawing pencil of charcoal.
  3. a drawing made with charcoal.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to blacken, write, or draw with charcoal.
  2. to cook (food) over charcoal, especially on a grill.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to cook food over charcoal, especially on a grill.
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Origin of charcoal

1300–50; Middle English charcole, perhaps cherre char3 + cole coal, though literal sense of the compound is unclear
Related formschar·coal·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for charcoal

soot, graphite, grill, broil, sear, jet, slate, onyx, coal, sable, pitch, brunet, ebony, clouded, charcoal, sloe, obsidian, raven, jetty, powder

Examples from the Web for charcoal

Contemporary Examples of charcoal

Historical Examples of charcoal

British Dictionary definitions for charcoal


  1. 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 absorbentSee activated carbon
  2. a stick or pencil of this for drawing
  3. a drawing done in charcoal
  4. short for charcoal grey
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  1. (tr) to write, draw, or blacken with charcoal
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Word Origin for charcoal

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

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

charcoal in Medicine


  1. Carbon obtained by heating or burning organic material with restricted access of air.
  2. Activated charcoal.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

charcoal in Science


  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.