charge

1 of 2

verb

charged; charging

transitive verb

1
a(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
b
: to record (an item) as an expense, debt, obligation, or liability
charged a new sofa
c(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
2
a(1)
: to give an electric charge to
charge a capacitor
(2)
: 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
b(1)
: to place a charge (as of powder) in
(2)
: to load or fill to capacity
c
: to fill or furnish fully
The music is charged with excitement.
d
: electrify sense 2
The crowd was charged by her performance.
e(1)
: to assume as a heraldic bearing (see bearing sense 4)
(2)
: to place a heraldic bearing on
charged his shield with three roses
f
archaic : to lay or put a load on or in : load
horses charged with heavy burdens
3
a
: to rush against : attack
The bull charged the matador.
also : to rush into (an opponent) usually illegally in various sports
b
: to bring (a weapon) into position for attack : level
charge a lance
4
a
: 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 they distorted the data
5
a
: 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 2 sense 6a) to (a jury)

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.

charge

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: the price demanded for something
no admission charge
b
: a debit to an account
The purchase was a charge.
c
: expense, cost
gave the banquet at his own 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
2
a
: a definite quantity of electricity
especially : an excess or deficiency of electrons in a body
b
: the quantity of explosive used in a single discharge
c
: the quantity that an apparatus is intended to receive and fitted to hold
the charge of chemicals in a fire extinguisher
d
: thrill, kick
got a charge out of the game
e
: a store or accumulation of impelling force
the deeply emotional charge of the drama
3
a
: management, supervision
has charge of the home office
see also take charge
b
: a person or thing committed into the care of another
played with her young charges at the day-care center
c
: obligation, requirement
… to maintain this readiness … is … a first charge upon our military effort …Sir Winston Churchill
d
: the ecclesiastical jurisdiction (such as a parish) committed to a clergyman
4
a
: 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
5
a(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)
6
a
: 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
7
a
: a figure borne on a heraldic field
b
obsolete : a material load or weight
Phrases
in charge
: having control or custody of something
He is in charge of the training program.
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

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

Verb 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. Noun 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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The two were also charged with armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon. Katie Moore, Kansas City Star, 23 Feb. 2024 Joe Jetha Rim, 21, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Stephen Jacobo on Nov. 6, 2022, at a Mesa party, where witnesses identified him as the shooter. Madeline Nguyen, The Arizona Republic, 23 Feb. 2024 None of those who were mentioned in the documents have been charged with any crime. Mark Williams, The Enquirer, 23 Feb. 2024 Investigators eventually charged several people in Smith’s inner circle with felonies related to her death. Benjamin Vanhoose, Peoplemag, 23 Feb. 2024 The daily fee charged to cruise lines for day visitors has jumped to 14 euros ($15) per person, while the overnight fee built into hotel room rates has risen to 12.5% of the room rate. David Nikel, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 New South Wales police officer Beaumont Lamarre-Condon, 28, appeared in court on Friday afternoon charged with the murders of Jesse Baird, 26, and Luke Davies, 29. Chris Lau, CNN, 23 Feb. 2024 Atrocities by the military and its allies the Janjaweed — a mostly Arab militia that eventually morphed into the RSF — were so widespread that the International Criminal Court charged the Sudanese president at the time with genocide. Hafiz Haroun, Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2024 Those moderators have publicly protested earlier Reddit decisions, most recently blacking out much of the site for days when Reddit announced plans to start charging many third-party apps for access to its content. David Hamilton, Fortune, 23 Feb. 2024
Noun
Vanderbilt will pay $55 million, and Northwestern has offered $43.5 million to resolve the charges. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 24 Feb. 2024 Dartmouth and Rice have each agreed to pay $33.8 million, while Vanderbilt will pay $55 million and Northwestern will pay $43.5 million to resolve the charges. Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Washington Post, 24 Feb. 2024 These charges follow the arrest of a third suspect, 21-year-old Kemonte Foster, made earlier this month. The Enquirer, 24 Feb. 2024 The charge to which Kenner pleaded guilty carries a maximum prison sentence of six months, but U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said a term of imprisonment or home detention wasn’t warranted. Michael Kunzelman and Lindsay Whitehurst, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 Prosecutors have significant discretion in deciding what charges to pursue and what plea deals to offer. Miguel Torres, The Arizona Republic, 23 Feb. 2024 The charges stem from an Indiana State Police investigation that began in June 2023. Leo Bertucci, The Courier-Journal, 23 Feb. 2024 The eye-watering charges could help boost revenue for loss-making Aston Martin, which is in talks with its bankers to address a looming debt pile of roughly $1.4 billion. Siddharth Philip, Fortune Europe, 23 Feb. 2024 Stoms failed a sobriety test at the scene and was arrested on a DUI charge, according to a news release. Kate Linderman, Miami Herald, 12 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'charge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English chargen "to load, burden, trouble, accuse, impose a duty on, tax, call to account, attach importance to," borrowed from Anglo-French charger, carger, carker (also continental Old French), going back to Late Latin carricāre "to load onto a cart, transport," from carrum "vehicle, cart" + -icāre, verb formative — more at car

Noun

Middle English, "load, cargo, burden, encumbrance, duty, concern, significance, order, accusation, impost," borrowed from Anglo-French, noun derivative of charger "to load, burden, accuse" — more at charge entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2f

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7b

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

Dictionary Entries Near charge

Cite this Entry

“Charge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/charge. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

charge

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: the amount (as of ammunition or fuel) needed to load or fill something
b
: a quantity of electricity
an electric charge
2
a
: a task, duty, or order given to a person : obligation
b
: the work or duty of managing
has charge of the building
c
: a person or thing given to another person to look after
3
: an instruction, command, or explanation based on authority
a judge's charge to the jury
4
a
: the price demanded especially for a service
b
: an amount listed as a debt on an account
5
: a claim of wrongdoing : accusation
a charge of burglary
6
a
: a rush to attack an enemy : assault
the charge of the army
b
: the signal for attack
sound the charge
c
: a usually illegal rush into an opponent in various sports (as basketball)

charge

2 of 2 verb
charged; charging
1
b
: to give an electric charge to
c
: to restore the active materials in a storage battery by the passage of a direct current through in the opposite direction to that of the flowing out of electricity from the battery
d
: to gain an electric charge : to receive and store a greater amount of electrical energy
left the phone charging
2
a
: to give a task or responsibility to
charge him with the job
b
: to give an order by right of authority to
I charge you not to go
3
: to accuse formally
charged with theft
4
: to rush against
also : to rush into (an opponent) usually illegally in sports
5
a
: to enter as a debt or responsibility on a record
charged the purchase to my account
b
: to ask or set as a price
charged $100 for repairs
chargeable
ˈchär-jə-bəl
adjective

Medical Definition

charge

1 of 2 transitive verb
charged; charging
: to give an electric charge to

charge

2 of 2 noun
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
3

Legal Definition

charge

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: 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.
3
a
: 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

charge

2 of 2 transitive verb
charged; charging
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
chargeable adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on charge

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