\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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Synonyms for charge

Synonyms: Noun

complaint, count, indictment, rap

Synonyms: Verb

ask, command, demand

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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

Officer Pantaleo, who has been on desk duty since the death, faces disciplinary charges of recklessly using force by chokehold and intentional strangulation. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "NYPD Disciplinary Trial in Eric Garner’s Death Set for May," 6 Dec. 2018 According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, the student who passed out the gummies faces seven felony charges for possessing and distributing marijuana. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "Fox News warns about THC gummies “ruining families” and “killing” Americans “every day.”," 3 Dec. 2018 One of my teammates took charge, telling a couple people to walk the perimeter, someone to sketch the scene, and someone else to prepare our equipment. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Charred and Burned: The School That Turns Firefighters Into Fire Detectives," 4 Oct. 2018 State officials are now facing charges related to the crisis. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Miss Michigan Called Out the Flint Water Crisis at the 2018 Miss America Pageant," 10 Sep. 2018 The charges were filed by special independent counsel Bill Forsyth, who was appointed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate Michigan State’s handling of Nassar. David Eggert, The Seattle Times, "Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar," 20 Nov. 2018 There’s something inherently broken about our news culture . . . and women have not been in charge. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Jessica Yellin Is a Veteran Reporter Out to Change the Way You Get Your News," 20 Nov. 2018 As of this publication, no charges have been filed. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "A Woman Stabbed Her Friend at a Haunted House With a Knife She Thought Was Fake," 11 Oct. 2018 The two were later released and no charges were filed, but footage of the arrest went viral on social media, prompting boycotts. Fox News, "Men arrested at Starbucks settle with city for $1, plus promise of $200G entrepreneurship program for students," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

She was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a police officer. John Raby, The Seattle Times, "Suspended West Virginia trooper accused of excessive force," 3 Dec. 2018 Those processes include bombardment by meteoroids and charged particles from Jupiter's powerful radiation belts. Mike Wall,, "Jupiter Moon Europa's Jagged Ice Towers Could Imperil Robot Landers," 8 Oct. 2018 With so much charged energy during this lunation, consider organizing a new moon ritual to welcome growth and renewal. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What September's Libra Horoscope Means for You," 30 Aug. 2018 As a lot of women on Twitter expressed, not being able to breastfeed can be emotionally charged. Jennifer Lance, Glamour, "Khloé Kardashian Opened Up About the Breastfeeding Problem No One Talks About—and Women Are Thanking Her," 20 Nov. 2018 For the unfamiliar: most Internet service providers (ISPs) in the US charge their customers somewhere around $5-10 a month to rent a cable modem on top of what they already charge for standard Internet service. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "The Ars Holiday Gift Guide 2018—good tech for the home and home office," 19 Nov. 2018 Essentially, your smartphones and tablets will charge quickly, but a Macbook, for example, would move a lot slower. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "This Is The Most Stylish Way To Store Your Chargers," 24 Oct. 2018 Russia has charged that U.S. missile defense facilities in Romania could be modified to house ground-to-ground intermediate-range cruise missiles. Fox News, "Treaty exits and extensions top Trump adviser's Moscow talks," 23 Oct. 2018 Worst of all, a recent graduate named George Huguely, a lacrosse player at the University of Virginia, had been charged with murdering his former girlfriend— a true-crime story that wound up on the cover of People. Jason Zengerle, Town & Country, "Brett Kavanaugh and the Private School Pecking Order," 16 Oct. 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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Statistics for charge

Last Updated

11 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on charge

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with charge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for charge

Spanish Central: Translation of charge

Nglish: Translation of charge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of charge for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about charge

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