noun, often attributive
\ ˈfrāt How to pronounce freight (audio) \

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

The weight came like a freight train that no Lean Cuisine diet could stop. Emily Price, Glamour, "I Knew Something Was Wrong With My Body—My Doctors Told Me I Was ‘Just Fat’," 28 Aug. 2019 Passenger and freight trains were running at a slower speed than normal as the railroad monitors fire activity, Sullivan said. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Railroad service restored after wildfire-related cancellations," 22 Aug. 2019 Seattle police are investigating a fatal collision involving a freight train and a pedestrian Sunday morning at Third Avenue South and South Holgate Street. Crystal Paul, The Seattle Times, "Pedestrian killed in collision with train at South Holgate Street and 3rd Avenue South," 11 Aug. 2019 On Collins’s sack, Bentley picked up the back out of the backfield, again preventing Savage from dumping it quickly as Collins roared toward him like a runaway freight train. Jim Mcbride,, "Patriots’ Ja’Whaun Bentley looks ready to contribute," 11 Aug. 2019 In 2017, more than 100 reindeer were killed in a four-day period by freight trains rolling through Norway, prompting an outcry for the national railway to do more to protect the animals. Palko Karasz, New York Times, "200 Reindeer Starved to Death. Experts Call It a Sign of Climate Change.," 31 July 2019 If all goes as planned in August, a freight train will chug down a track near Pueblo, Colo.—entirely controlled by computers. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Autonomous Trains Are Ready to Roll," 29 July 2019 Immediately after last week’s attacks, freight rates for operators in the Gulf rose 10-20%. Washington Post, "Oil shippers boost security after mysterious attacks in Gulf," 20 June 2019 Needles was the first place crews swapped out freight trains headed east out of Los Angeles — a big boon for the town at the time. Los Angeles Times, "This California town wants to be a 2nd Amendment ‘sanctuary city’ for guns and ammo," 1 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For Phillips, 37, writing about a supernatural threat felt like the most accurate way to explore the treacherous emotional terrain of motherhood and the lurking feeling that even the most mundane situations are freighted with peril. Alexandra Alter, New York Times, "What to Expect When You’re Expecting Evil," 6 July 2019 With these songs, the maestro figured out how to freight the breeze with an impossible amount of information. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "João Gilberto sang lullabies to the future," 7 July 2019 The questions are especially freighted for Unitarian Universalists, members of a denomination dedicated to racial justice and yet at times beset by its own problems of diversity. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "’Black Lives Matter’ banners cost a California church its polling place. Now, it’s suing.," 11 June 2019 The continuing conversation is freighted with both history and consequences. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "After Cynthia Nixon’s Loss, Working Families Party Ponders Its Next Step," 20 Sep. 2018 The term is always charged somehow, freighted with meaning and potential conflict, vaguely subversive. David Roberts, Vox, "American white people really hate being called “white people”," 26 July 2018 The Mississippi case is freighted with racial overtones because Tellis is black, while Chambers was white. Jeff Amy, Fox News, "Retrial set for man accused in woman's burning death," 22 Sep. 2018 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

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Statistics for freight

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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 How to pronounce freight (audio) \

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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