\ˈchärj \

Definition of charge 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a obsolete : a material load or weight

b : a figure borne on a heraldic field

2a : the quantity that an apparatus is intended to receive and fitted to hold the charge of chemicals in a fire extinguisher

b : the quantity of explosive used in a single discharge

c : a store or accumulation of impelling force the deeply emotional charge of the drama

d : a definite quantity of electricity especially : an excess or deficiency of electrons in a body

e : thrill, kick got a charge out of the game

3a : obligation, requirement … to maintain this readiness … is … a first charge upon our military effort …— Sir Winston Churchill

b : management, supervision has charge of the home office

c : the ecclesiastical jurisdiction (such as a parish) committed to a clergyman

d : a person or thing committed into the care of another played with her young charges at the day-care center

4a : instruction, command … he gave them charge about the Queen, To guard and foster her forevermore— Alfred Tennyson

b : instruction in points of law given by a court to a jury

5a : expense, cost gave the banquet at his own charge

b : the price demanded for something no admission charge

c : a debit to an account the purchase was a charge

d : the record of a loan (as of a book from a library)

e British : an interest in property granted as security for a loan

6a : a formal assertion of illegality a charge of murder

b : a statement of complaint or hostile criticism denied the charges of nepotism that were leveled against him

7a(1) : a violent rush forward (as to attack) the charge of the brigade

(2) : the signal for attack sound the charge

b : a usually illegal rush into an opponent in various sports (such as basketball)

in charge

: having control or custody of something he is in charge of the training program


charged; charging

Definition of charge (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a archaic : to lay or put a load on or in : load horses charged with heavy burdens

b(1) : to place a charge (as of powder) in

(2) : to load or fill to capacity

c(1) : to restore the active materials in (a storage battery) by the passage of a direct current through in the opposite direction to that of discharge

(2) : to give an electric charge to charge a capacitor

d(1) : to assume as a heraldic bearing (see bearing sense 4)

(2) : to place a heraldic bearing on charged his shield with three roses

e : to fill or furnish fully the music is charged with excitement

f : electrify sense 2 the crowd was charged by her performance

2a : to impose a task or responsibility on charge him with the job of finding a new meeting place

b : to command, instruct, or exhort with authority I charge you not to go

c of a judge : to give a charge (see charge entry 1 sense 4b) to (a jury)

3a : to make an assertion against especially by ascribing guilt or blame charges him with armed robbery they were charged as being instigators

b : to place the guilt or blame for charge her failure to negligence

c : to assert as an accusation charges that he distorted the data

4a : to bring (a weapon) into position for attack : level charge a lance

b : to rush against : attack The bull charged the matador. also : to rush into (an opponent) usually illegally in various sports

5a(1) : to impose a financial burden on charge his estate with debts incurred

(2) : to impose or record as financial obligation charge debts to an estate

b(1) : to fix or ask as fee or payment charges $50 for an office visit

(2) : to ask payment of (a person) charge a client for expenses

c : to record (an item) as an expense, debt, obligation, or liability charged a new sofa

intransitive verb

1 : to rush forward in or as if in assault : attack came charging into the room also : to charge an opponent in sports

2 : to ask or set a price do you charge for this service?

3 : to charge an item to an account charge now, pay later

4 of a battery or battery-powered device : to gain an electric charge : to receive and store a greater quantity of electrical energy She left the phone charging overnight.

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Choose the Right Synonym for charge


command, order, bid, enjoin, direct, instruct, charge mean to issue orders. command and order imply authority and usually some degree of formality and impersonality. command stresses official exercise of authority. a general commanding troops order may suggest peremptory or arbitrary exercise. ordered his employees about like slaves bid suggests giving orders peremptorily (as to children or servants). she bade him be seated enjoin implies giving an order or direction authoritatively and urgently and often with admonition or solicitude. a sign enjoining patrons to be quiet direct and instruct both connote expectation of obedience and usually concern specific points of procedure or method, instruct sometimes implying greater explicitness or formality. directed her assistant to hold all calls the judge instructed the jury to ignore the remark charge adds to enjoin an implication of imposing as a duty or responsibility. charged by the President with a secret mission

Examples of charge in a Sentence


He set off a charge that destroyed the mountain. He has charge of the building. There is no charge for fixing the tire. a delivery charge for the refrigerator an admission charge at the fair


We tried to charge the car's battery. The government charged that he had not paid taxes for five years. It is not clear if he violated the rules, as his critics have charged. The basketball player was charged with a foul.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Kenol is expected to be arraigned in Worcester District Court on charges of operating to endanger, failure to stop for police, assault with a dangerous weapon, use of a firearm in a felony, and carrying a firearm without a license. Lucas Phillips,, "In separate Worcester attacks, suspect allegedly shoots at bicyclist, and man is wounded in back," 14 July 2018 Roderick Williams, 40, is wanted on charges of rape, aggravated assault and kidnapping, LaGrange police said. Steve Burns, ajc, "Man accused of kidnapping woman from Georgia car parts plant, raping her," 13 July 2018 Kenyon, who lives in Lakeland, was arrested on a charge of video voyeurism, according to a police report. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "She felt skin against her leg. The pastor had his cell phone pointed up her dress, cops say," 13 July 2018 That note of alarm sounded by Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, came on the same day that 12 Russian agents were indicted on charges of hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Julian E. Barnes, New York Times, "‘Warning Lights Are Blinking Red,’ Top Intelligence Officer Says of Russian Attacks," 13 July 2018 Saucier was arrested in May 2015 on charges of unlawful retention of national defense information. Nicholas Rondinone,, "In Lawsuit Citing Clinton Email Probe, Groton Sailor Pardoned By Trump Seeks $20M In Damages," 13 July 2018 They were both arrested the same day on charges of obscenity. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Louisiana cops arrest inmate and teen who were allegedly having sex in courthouse," 13 July 2018 Francisco Gonzalez, 22, was booked on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing, restraining order violation and resisting arrest, police Officer Linda Matthew said. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Man surrenders in SWAT standoff at Sacramento family home," 13 July 2018 In February, a federal grand jury indicted three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens on charges of engaging in a widespread effort to meddle in the 2016 campaign through social-media messages, invented fake personas and staged rallies. Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "Mueller Probe Indicts 12 Russians in Hacking of DNC and Clinton Campaign," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

His campaign treasurer and a fundraiser were convicted on felonies related to the straw-donor scheme, but Mr. Liu was never charged with any wrongdoing. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Former New York City Comptroller to Take On State Senator for Queens Seat," 13 July 2018 Reina, 40, was taken to federal criminal court in nearby McAllen at 3 a.m. and charged with crossing the border illegally. Molly Hennessy-fiske,, "What it took to reunite one immigrant family separated under U.S. 'zero tolerance' policy," 12 July 2018 Sparks was convicted of transferring one key secret to his new employer — the computer code and schematics for the underwater drone’s battery charging system. Matthew Ormseth,, "Former Employee Of Groton Defense Contractor Requests New Trial After Conviction For Stealing Navy Secrets," 12 July 2018 But the White House pointed out that the indictment did not charge that any American citizen committed a crime. New York Times, "Gap Between Trump and Justice Dept. Officials Grows Starker," 13 July 2018 Cell phone video released Wednesday by TMZ shows the men shouting at each other and then the employee charging at Jones to fight. Cameron Knight,, "Police: Airport worker insulted, threatened Adam Jones before fight," 13 July 2018 Her arrest comes shortly after the suspects’ mom, Kindra Adamson, was also taken into custody this week and charged with two counts of rendering criminal assistance in the first-degree. Kc Baker,, "Suspects' Mom and Girlfriend Allegedly Knew Missing 16-Year-Old Was Murdered — but Said Nothing," 12 July 2018 Others charged include: Steven DeMoss, assistant safety director; John Ellis Scott, who worked in the safety department; and section foremen Billie Hearld, Dwight Fulkerson and Jeremy Hackney, all of whom worked at the company's Parkway Mine. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky coal mine officials charged with cheating on key safety tests," 11 July 2018 Two more Lawrence residents — Luz DeJesus, 33, and Henry Marte, 21 — have been charged with conspiracy and possession with the intention to distribute fentanyl. Jeremy C. Fox,, "Alleged leader of Lawrence fentanyl trafficking ring charged in death of user," 14 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'charge.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of charge


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for charge


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from charger


Middle English, from Anglo-French charger, from Late Latin carricare, from Latin carrus wheeled vehicle — more at car

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Learn More about charge

Statistics for charge

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for charge

The first known use of charge was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for charge



English Language Learners Definition of charge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an amount of electricity

: the amount of an explosive material (such as dynamite) that is used in a single blast

: the responsibility of managing or watching over something



English Language Learners Definition of charge (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give an amount of electricity to (something) : to put electricity into a battery so that a machine or device will run

: to give a job or responsibility to (a person or group) : to make (a person or group) responsible for something

: to formally accuse (someone) of a crime


\ˈchärj \

Kids Definition of charge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the responsibility of managing, controlling, or caring for She has charge of the building. He took charge of the planning.

2 : a task or duty given to a person : obligation Grooming the animals was his charge.

3 : a person or thing given to someone to look after At long last, each of our charges was tucked in bed.— Ann M. Martin, Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation

4 : the price asked especially for a service

5 : an amount listed as a debt on an account charges on a phone bill

6 : accusation a charge of mutiny

7 : an instruction or command based on authority a judge's charge to a jury

8 : the amount of an explosive material (as dynamite) used in a single blast

9 : an amount of electricity an electrical charge

10 : a rushing attack the soldiers' charge

11 : the signal for attack Sound the charge!


charged; charging

Kids Definition of charge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give an electric charge to charge a device

2 : to refill (as an exhausted battery) with available energy

3 : to give a task, duty, or responsibility to I was charged with supervising the children.

4 : to instruct or command with authority … he cried to his sons, and charged them to yield …— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee

5 : to accuse especially formally He was charged with speeding.

6 : to rush toward or against The bull charged the matador.

7 : to ask for payment from You charged me too much.

8 : to ask or set as a price or fee The garage charged 100 dollars for repairs.

9 : to enter as a debt or responsibility on a record The purchase was charged to her account.

\ˈchärj \
charged; charging

Medical Definition of charge 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: to give an electric charge to



Medical Definition of charge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a plaster or ointment used on a domestic animal

2 : a definite quantity of electricity especially : an excess or deficiency of electrons in a body

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Legal Definition of charge 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something required : obligation

b : personal management or supervision put the child in his charge

c : a person or thing placed under the care of another

2 : an authoritative instruction or command especially : instruction in points of law given by a judge to a jury conviction…reversed, because of trial court's charge — W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr.

3a : an incurred expense

b : the price demanded for something (as admission or use) a finance charge

c : a debit to an account especially : a debit resulting from unexpected operating expenses a charge against earnings

4 : a formal allegation of an offense or wrongdoing based on a charge that was dismissedNational Law Journal — see also complaint, indictment, information

charged; charging

Legal Definition of charge (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : to impose a task or responsibility on was charged with protecting civil rights

b : to command or instruct with authority especially : to give a charge to (a jury) the jury should have been charged on common-law negligence National Law Journal

2a : to make an accusation against especially in order to bring to trial charging her with attempted robbery — see also accuse, indict

b : to allege especially as an accusation crimes charged in the indictment

3a : to impose a financial liability on charge the estate

b : to impose or record as a financial burden or liability charge the debts to the estate charging the loss against earnings

4a : to fix or ask as a fee or payment charge $4 for parking

b : to ask payment of (an individual or organization) charge a client for expenses

Other Words from charge

chargeable adjective

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