1 of 2


lad·​en ˈlā-dᵊn How to pronounce laden (audio)
: carrying a load or burden


2 of 2


ladened; ladening ˈlād-niŋ How to pronounce laden (audio)

transitive verb

: lade
heavily ladened with equipmentIsabel M. Lewis

Did you know?

Something that is laden seems to be, or actually is, weighed down by the large amount of whatever it’s carrying: tree branches laden with fruit bend toward the ground; newspaper articles laden with technical jargon are hard to read; and sugar-laden cereal is very, very sweet. Laden has been used as an adjective to describe heavily loaded things for a millennium, but its source is an even older verb: lade, meaning primarily "to load something." Lade today mostly occurs in contexts relating to shipping; its related noun lading may be familiar from the phrase bill of lading, which refers to a document listing goods to be shipped and the terms of their transport. Laden is itself sometimes used as a verb meaning "to load something" (as in "ladening the truck with equipment"), and an adjectival form of that word sometimes appears too, as in "a truck ladened with equipment." Plain old laden is preferred in such cases though: "a truck laden with equipment."

Examples of laden in a Sentence

Verb laden a ship with emergency medical supplies
Recent Examples on the Web
This is the woman who spotlights female designers (reminder: Carolina Herrera is a Venezuelan immigrant who became a US Citizen in 2009) and sustainable fashion brands on the regular, and whose accessories are often laden with nods to her children, four-year-old Archie, and two-year-old Lilibet. Sam Reed, Glamour, 9 Nov. 2023 With early voting underway since mid-October, the state is a frenzy of television and social media ads, multiple rallies a day and doorknobs laden with campaign literature, with each side accusing the other of being too extreme for Ohio. Lisa Lerer, New York Times, 2 Nov. 2023 And for a movie that the filmmakers claim is laden with jokes and potential memes, there’s a line that perhaps helps unite both the worlds of extreme zombie-massacring violence, and 1990s chart hero Vanilla Ice – and could become one of its most repeated. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Nov. 2023 But the technological revolution – once an amorphous, frothy concept itself, laden with dreams and dire forecasts – has now shifted tangible parts of the mundane elements in our lives. Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Oct. 2023 As if that wasn't enough, a nearby table was laden with other goodies including candy apples, a bat cake, sugar cookies and Rice Krispies treats The trees were wrapped in cobwebs, lit with twinkly lights and decorated with floating witches' hats. Erin Clack, Peoplemag, 21 Oct. 2023 Home options range from townhomes to luxurious residences, set among massive oak trees laden with Spanish moss. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 15 Oct. 2023 Down a dirt walkway was a cross laden with leis and a photo of Mr. Estores-Losano. Corina Knoll, New York Times, 15 Oct. 2023 Wake up with a bowl of frozen acai laden with guarana syrup. Caroline Shin, Bon Appétit, 13 Oct. 2023
The interview seemed straightforward until a rogue comment unknowingly ladened with micro-aggressions brought everything to a halt. Kyle Lamar Rice, Rolling Stone, 4 Aug. 2023 But that context — including who shouts the phrase and who studiously avoids uttering it — has ladened it with pernicious meaning in particular quarters. Max Fisher, New York Times, 16 June 2016 See More

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

Word History



see lade


see lade

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


1514, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of laden was before the 12th century


Dictionary Entries Near laden

Cite this Entry

“Laden.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on laden

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!