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charge (chärj)
v. charged, charg·ing, charg·es
v. tr.
a. To impose a duty, responsibility, or obligation on: charged him with the task of watching the young swimmers.
b. To instruct or urge authoritatively; command: charged her not to reveal the source of information.
c. Law To instruct (a jury) about the law, its application, and the weighing of evidence.
2. To set or ask (a given amount) as a price: charges ten dollars for a haircut.
3. To hold financially liable; demand payment from: charged her for the balance due.
4. To purchase on credit: paid cash for the stockings but charged the new coat.
a. To load to capacity; fill: charge a furnace with coal.
b. To load (a gun or other firearm) with a quantity of explosive: charged the musket with powder.
c. To pervade or fill, as with a feeling or quality: The atmosphere was charged with tension.
a. To make a claim of wrongdoing against; accuse or blame: The prosecutors charged him with car theft. Critics charged the writer with a lack of originality.
b. To put the blame for; attribute or impute: charged the accident to the driver's inexperience.
7. To rush against in an attack: The troops charged the enemy line.
a. Basketball To bump or run into (a defender) illegally while in possession of the ball or having just made a pass or shot.
b. Sports To bump (an opponent) so as to knock off balance or gain control of the ball, as in soccer.
c. Sports To body-check (an opponent) illegally, from behind or after taking more than two strides, especially in ice hockey.
9. Electricity
a. To cause formation of a net electric charge on or in (a conductor, for example).
b. To energize (a storage battery) by passing current through it in the direction opposite to discharge.
10. To excite; rouse: a speaker who knows how to charge up a crowd.
11. To direct or put (a weapon) into position for use; level or direct.
12. Heraldry To place a charge on (an escutcheon).
v. intr.
a. To rush forward in an attack: The dog charged at the intruder.
b. To rush forward; run: children charging around the house.
2. To demand or ask payment: did not charge for the second cup of coffee.
3. To make a purchase or purchases on credit.
4. Accounting To consider or record as a loss. Often used with off.
5. To become energized: The battery is still charging.
a. Expense; cost: added to the bill a charge for replacing the thermostat.
b. The price asked for something: What's the charge for a new tire?
c. A debt or an entry in an account recording a debt: Are you paying cash or is this a charge?
d. A financial burden, such as a tax or lien.
a. A weight or burden; a load: a freighter relieved of its charge of cargo.
b. The quantity that a container or apparatus can hold.
3. A quantity of explosive to be set off at one time.
a. An assigned duty or task; a responsibility: The commission's charge was to determine the facts.
b. Care; custody: a child put in my charge.
c. Supervision; management: the scientist who had overall charge of the research project. See Synonyms at care.
d. One that is entrusted to another's care or management: the baby sitter's three young charges.
a. An order, command, or injunction.
b. Instruction given by a judge to a jury about the law, its application, and the weighing of evidence.
6. A claim of wrongdoing; an accusation: a charge of murder; pleaded not guilty to the charges.
a. A rushing, forceful attack: repelled the charge of enemy troops; the charge of a herd of elephants.
b. The command to attack: The bugler sounded the charge.
8. Symbol q Physics
a. The intrinsic property of matter responsible for all electric phenomena, in particular for the electromagnetic force, occurring in two forms arbitrarily designated negative and positive.
b. The net measure of this property possessed by a body or contained in a bounded region of space, measured in coulombs, ampere-hours, or units of elementary charge. Also called electric charge.
9. Physics
b. See color charge.
10. Informal A feeling of pleasant excitement; a thrill: got a real charge out of the movie.
11. Heraldry A figure or device represented on the field of an escutcheon.
in charge
1. In a position of leadership or supervision: the security agent in charge at the airport.
2. Chiefly British Under arrest.
in charge of
Having control over or responsibility for: You're in charge of making the salad.

[Middle English chargen, to load, from Old French chargier, from Late Latin carricāre, from Latin carrus, Gallic type of wagon, of Celtic origin; see kers- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.