noun, often attributive
\ˈfrāt \

Definition of freight 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the compensation paid for the transportation of goods

b : cost help pay the freight

2a : goods to be shipped : cargo The freight arrived by steamboat.

b : load, burden The man staggered under a freight of small logs in a basket.

c : meaning sense 3, significance words that carry psychological freight, such as "family," "work," and "sex"

3a : the ordinary transportation of goods by a common carrier and distinguished from express

b : a train designed or used for such transportation an eastbound freight


freighted; freighting; freights

Definition of freight (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to load with goods for transportation

b : burden, charge freighted with memories

2 : to transport or ship by freight

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Synonyms & Antonyms for freight

Synonyms: Noun

burden, cargo, draft, haul, lading, load, loading, payload, weight

Synonyms: Verb

burden, encumber, lade, laden, load, lumber, saddle, weight

Antonyms: Verb

disburden, discharge, disencumber, unburden, unlade, unload

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Examples of freight in a Sentence


trains that carry both passengers and freight The freight arrived by steamboat. The order was shipped by freight.


it took six hours to freight the cargo airplane
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In Latin America, only about 22 percent of surface freight is shipped by rail. Mimi Whitefield, miamiherald, "Why are Latin American and Caribbean cities less productive? Mayors in Miami to discuss," 11 June 2018 Over the next decade, the amount of freight moved by long-haul trucks is expected to increase by 27 percent. Chuck Tannert, Ars Technica, "Autonomous trucks will haul your stuff before you ride in a self-driving car," 29 May 2018 Another blast from the past is a working telegraph that taps out Morse code messages from freight trains. Mayra Cruz, Houston Chronicle, "Tomball to unveil model railroads that depict its history," 7 July 2018 The Union Pacific freight train derailed before 3:30 p.m. in Marana, located just outside of Tucson during a heavy thunderstorm, Tucson News Now reported. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Train derails after hitting floodwaters on tracks in Arizona," 13 July 2018 Witnesses included representatives from Amtrak, freight railroad giant BNSF Railway and European rail agencies. Lori Aratani, Washington Post, "Amtrak says new focus on safety will make rail travel safer for all," 11 July 2018 Tucked behind the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center is one of the last untouched empty lots in the bustling Seaport District, a narrow scrub of land lined by a rail spur that hasn’t seen a freight train in years. Adam Vaccaro,, "How a South Boston real estate fight could delay new MBTA Red Line cars," 2 July 2018 By contrast, the project in Southern California is funding improvement for a freight railroad crossing south of downtown Los Angeles and redesigning tracks at Union Station. Ralph Vartabedian,, "As bullet train costs rise, only 31% of California voters want to keep paying for it," 25 May 2018 Wabtec, formally known as Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp., makes equipment for transit systems and freight railroads. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Union Pacific Chief Praises GE-Wabtec Railroad Deal," 23 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

All that freighted with significance the moment of their first greeting. Dan Balz,, "Summit's outcome rests on substance, not symbolism," 11 June 2018 Maybe that’s the way to practice for the launch of a successful vacation—not with a plan for two weeks freighted with expectation but with a single afternoon at full and indulgent ease. Patricia Hampl, WSJ, "All of Summer In a Single Afternoon," 21 June 2018 As those who’ve been paying attention have come to expect, Foster’s performance is freighted with a tense, explosive dignity; Will is a good man undone by demons and his tragedy is his country’s. Ty Burr,, "In ‘Leave No Trace,’ a father and daughter who break your heart," 27 June 2018 But with a single vote at a meeting punctuated by jeering and shouting, the county’s school board this month made a four-word change in language that is freighted with social and cultural significance. Debbie Truong, Washington Post, "In Fairfax, a lesson on why words matter, especially in sexual health class," 23 June 2018 And if too many fashion titles come freighted with the ego of whomever put them out, that’s not the case here. Mark Holgate, Vogue, "Designer Giles Deacon’s Brilliant New Book Enlists The Help of Friends Katie Grand and Solve Sundsbo," 22 June 2018 The move also is freighted with economic symbolism. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "General Electric Dropped From Dow After More Than a Century," 19 June 2018 All that freighted with significance the moment of their first greeting. Author: Dan Balz, Anchorage Daily News, "Analysis: Summit’s outcome rests on substance, not symbolism," 12 June 2018 Onion tells his story at age 103—aware that his racial identity is freighted by history. WSJ, "Randall Fuller," 1 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'freight.' 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 freight


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for freight


Middle English, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German vracht, vrecht


see freight entry 1

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Learn More about freight

Phrases Related to freight

freight car

freight train

pay the freight

Statistics for freight

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for freight

The first known use of freight was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for freight



English Language Learners Definition of freight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: goods that are carried by ships, trains, trucks, or airplanes

: the system by which goods are carried from one place to another

: the amount of money paid for carrying goods



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

: to send (goods) from one place to another

: to cause (something) to have or carry many things : to load or burden (something)


\ˈfrāt \

Kids Definition of freight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : goods or cargo carried by a ship, train, truck, or airplane

2 : the carrying (as by truck) of goods from one place to another The order was shipped by freight.

3 : the amount paid (as to a shipping company) for carrying goods

4 : a train that carries freight


freighted; freighting

Kids Definition of freight (Entry 2 of 2)

: to send by train, truck, airplane, or ship

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Comments on freight

What made you want to look up freight? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


lying above or upon

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