Main definitions of char in English

: char1char2char3char4

char1

verbchars, charring, charred

[with object]
  • 1Partially burn so as to blacken the surface.

    ‘a region charred by bush fires’
    • ‘The body was badly charred as an intense fire had burned close to where it was found.’
    • ‘It was just a sort of blackened, charred wreckage, smoke rising and emergency services all over the place.’
    • ‘Carving single blocks of beech, ash, wild cherry or oak, he darkens the figures' surfaces by lightly charring them, after which he polishes them so that they seem to glow.’
    • ‘The formerly bright brickwork of nearby buildings was charred and blackened.’
    • ‘Following a fire in October 2000, the roofs were completely destroyed and all timber roof supports in the building were badly charred.’
    • ‘All that can be seen inside the house is the black charred remains of furniture.’
    • ‘In total, more than 2,650 square kilometres were left charred by the fires that blazed for weeks.’
    • ‘About 30 charred bodies lay in rows, covered with red blankets near the wreckage.’
    • ‘Their bodies were not charred and their identification papers were intact.’
    • ‘If the toast is slightly charred at the edges then even better.’
    • ‘Trees and shrubs were charred and burning, and the grass around her had been burnt to a crisp.’
    • ‘All over his body, he saw a thin, glowing mesh that burned brighter and brighter by the second, burning and charring his flesh.’
    • ‘On the outside, the town was charred, scorched, and barren.’
    • ‘Its frame bears evidence of several singed areas where candles charred it.’
    • ‘The fire started in the front room and quickly engulfed it charring the ceiling, stairwell and door-frames before spreading to the hallway.’
    • ‘The roads were littered with debris - bricks, bottles, charred gas canisters, all presumably used as missiles at some point by the hundreds of youths intent on violence.’
    • ‘Fires have burnt most of the uprights to charred stumps but the thick wooden corner posts are still intact.’
    • ‘I lightly char fresh asparagus on a hot ridged griddle pan for maximum flavour.’
    • ‘I bite on the cube of lightly charred meat and chew.’
    scorch, burn, singe, sear
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object (of an object) become blackened as a result of partial burning.
      ‘the exposed surfaces of the beams may char in a fire’
      • ‘The painted wood was charring, burning, sinking slowly in and the last Stars and Stripes flying in the sun was gradually fading in the heat.’
      • ‘The edges burned first, immediately charring at the edges and then working its way inward.’
      • ‘The fires from the orphanage did burn true even though the wood had charred and foundations crumbled.’
      • ‘Wood chars and therefore burns slowly.’

noun

mass noun
  • Material that has been charred.

    ‘she trimmed the char from the wicks of the oil lamps’
    • ‘The rest of the material forms char, which is nearly pure carbon, and ash, which is all of the unburnable minerals in the wood (calcium, potassium, and so on).’
    • ‘This is being done to preserve chip quality as the spikes drive particles of soot and char into the wood beyond the bark, which contaminates the wood going to chipping.’
    • ‘The first mouthful of the crust of the ribs gives a smell of char, and then the tastebuds are stimulated by the peppery inside and by the sweet honey basted on the ribs, which helps remove some of the hotness.’
    • ‘The bottom was covered in good cornmeal and natural char from the brick-lined oven.’
    • ‘Soot and char make it difficult for equipment operators to judge wood quality of the stems being harvested.’

Origin

Late 17th century apparently a back-formation from charcoal.

Pronunciation

char

/tʃɑː/

Main definitions of char in English

: char1char2char3char4

char2

noun

informal
  • A charwoman.

    • ‘Agnes, our char who comes in once a week and transforms our household chaos into sparkling order, is also a whiz at the sewing machine.’
    • ‘Agnes, I should explain, is our char who comes twice weekly to make the house sparkle.’
    • ‘The film's central character Vera Drake played by Imelda Staunton, who was nominated for a rash of best actress awards, is a char whose concern for her family and neighbours is the driving force of her life.’
    • ‘In Ian Talbot's production, the piece is perfectly played by Jennifer Piercey as the char and Martin Ledwith as her fake son.’
    • ‘In this, Mike Leigh's first television drama, Mrs Thornley quietly endures a life of unceasing domestic work: as a char for Mrs Stone and at home for her demanding husband, Jim.’

verbchars, charring, charred

[no object]informal
  • Work as a charwoman.

    ‘she'd had to char and work in a grocery store to put herself through university’
    • ‘She charred for a princess and then became a hippie.’
    • ‘She charred for Jewish families (picking up some Yiddish as she did) and the day of her death she had earned 6d cleaning at her lodging house.’
    • ‘Her mother had gone out charring for a few hours a day for long periods.’

Pronunciation

char

/tʃɑː/

Main definitions of char in English

: char1char2char3char4

char3

(also cha, chai)

noun

mass nouninformalBritish
  • Tea.

    • ‘Afterwards, we sipped chai in one of the tea stalls which had sprung up in the outer cloisters of the temple.’
    • ‘Now I have seen many things in my short life and even spent a couple of nights in the Amazon Jungle trying to cook a kebab with a lighter but the sales are another cup of chai altogether.’
    • ‘This sustained us, along with the countless cups of sweet chai and herb-infused omelettes delivered by the boys at every station.’
    • ‘Yesterday evening I went round to Katie's for cha and chat.’
    • ‘And got stuck into my book, while sipping a hot cup of chai.’

Origin

Late 16th century (as cha; rare before the early 20th century): from Chinese (Mandarin dialect) chá.

Pronunciation

char

/tʃɑː/

Main definitions of char in English

: char1char2char3char4

char4

(also charr)

nounchar

  • A freshwater or marine fish like the trout, of northern countries. It is valued as a food and game fish.

    Genus Salvelinus, family Salmonidae: several species, in particular the red-bellied Arctic charr (S. alpinus), which occurs in Arctic waters, and the North American brook charr or brook trout (S. fontinalis)

Origin

Mid 17th century perhaps of Celtic origin.

Pronunciation

char

/tʃɑː/