Main definitions of char in English

: char1char2char3char4

char1

verbchars, charred, charring

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

    ‘a region charred by bush fires’
    • ‘All that can be seen inside the house is the black charred remains of furniture.’
    • ‘On the outside, the town was charred, scorched, and barren.’
    • ‘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 next day revealed the carnage: dead bodies, charred remains of shops and vehicles, and further clashes between police and pupils, joined by street gangs.’
    • ‘I bite on the cube of lightly charred meat and chew.’
    • ‘If the toast is slightly charred at the edges then even better.’
    • ‘All over his body, he saw a thin, glowing mesh that burned brighter and brighter by the second, burning and charring his flesh.’
    • ‘It was just a sort of blackened, charred wreckage, smoke rising and emergency services all over the place.’
    • ‘The body was badly charred as an intense fire had burned close to where it was found.’
    • ‘Their bodies were not charred and their identification papers were intact.’
    • ‘I lightly char fresh asparagus on a hot ridged griddle pan for maximum flavour.’
    • ‘Trees and shrubs were charred and burning, and the grass around her had been burnt to a crisp.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Its frame bears evidence of several singed areas where candles charred it.’
    • ‘About 30 charred bodies lay in rows, covered with red blankets near the wreckage.’
    • ‘Following a fire in October 2000, the roofs were completely destroyed and all timber roof supports in the building were badly charred.’
    • ‘In total, more than 2,650 square kilometres were left charred by the fires that blazed for weeks.’
    • ‘The fire started in the front room and quickly engulfed it charring the ceiling, stairwell and door-frames before spreading to the hallway.’
    • ‘The formerly bright brickwork of nearby buildings was charred and blackened.’
    • ‘Fires have burnt most of the uprights to charred stumps but the thick wooden corner posts are still intact.’
    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 edges burned first, immediately charring at the edges and then working its way inward.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Wood chars and therefore burns slowly.’
      • ‘The fires from the orphanage did burn true even though the wood had charred and foundations crumbled.’

nounPlural chars

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).’
    • ‘Soot and char make it difficult for equipment operators to judge wood quality of the stems being harvested.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 bottom was covered in good cornmeal and natural char from the brick-lined oven.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

char

/tʃɑː/

Main definitions of char in English

: char1char2char3char4

char2

nounPlural chars

British
informal
  • A charwoman.

    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘Agnes, I should explain, is our char who comes twice weekly to make the house sparkle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In Ian Talbot's production, the piece is perfectly played by Jennifer Piercey as the char and Martin Ledwith as her fake son.’

verbchars, charred, charring

[no object]British
informal
  • Work as a charwoman.

    ‘she'd had to char and work in a grocery store to put herself through university’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She charred for a princess and then became a hippie.’
    • ‘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) (Indian chai)

nounPlural chars

mass nounBritish
informal
  • Tea.

    • ‘This sustained us, along with the countless cups of sweet chai and herb-infused omelettes delivered by the boys at every station.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Afterwards, we sipped chai in one of the tea stalls which had sprung up in the outer cloisters of the temple.’

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)

nounPlural chars

  • 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)

    • ‘Bring a rod and fish nearby Hadley Bay, where many a guest has landed a 25-pound silver char.’
    • ‘Other venues will the smaller rivers and lakes, often buried deep in the forests, where anglers can expect to catch grayling, brown trout and arctic char.’
    • ‘Many times in the past, especially during April, I have shot the surrounding area for rabbits at dawn and dusk then fished for the char and trout from breakfast until tea, often stopping for a lunch of home made soup and bread.’
    • ‘The char spawn in the fall, months after his boat has been removed from the river.’
    • ‘Quite a few of the small, deep lakes in the West of Ireland still hold stocks of char, but much smaller in size than those found in Lough Mask.’

Origin

Mid 17th century: perhaps of Celtic origin.

Pronunciation

char

/tʃɑː/