\ ˈlōd \

Definition of load 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the quantity that can be carried at one time by a specified means especially : a measured quantity of a commodity fixed for each type of carrier often used in combination a boatload of tourists

b : whatever is put on a person or pack animal to be carried : pack donkeys with heavy loads

c : whatever is put in a ship or vehicle or airplane for conveyance : cargo The ship was carrying a load of automobiles. especially : a quantity of material assembled or packed as a shipping unit

2a : a mass or weight supported by something branches bent low by their load of fruit

b : the forces to which a structure is subjected due to superposed weight or to wind pressure on the vertical surfaces broadly : the forces to which a given object is subjected Losing weight will lessen the load on your knees.

3a : something that weighs down the mind or spirits took a load off her mind

b : a burdensome or laborious responsibility always carried his share of the load

4 slang : an intoxicating amount of liquor drunk

5 : a large quantity : lot usually used in plural The boy had loads of toys.

6a : a charge for a firearm

b : the quantity of material loaded into a device at one time

7 : external resistance overcome by a machine or prime mover

8a : power output (as of a power plant) or power consumption (as by a device)

b : a device to which power is delivered

9a(1) : the amount of work that a person carries or is expected to carry his heavy load of day-to-day workNew York Times

(2) : the amount of authorized work to be performed by a machine, a group, a department, or a factory The washer can take a 10-pound load.

b : the demand on the operating resources of a system (such as a telephone exchange or a refrigerating apparatus)

10 slang : eyeful used in the phrase get a load of Get a load of his new car.

11 : the amount of a deleterious microorganism, parasite, growth, or substance present in a human or animal body measure viral load in the blood the worm load in rats

called also burden

12 : an amount added (as to the price of a security or the net premium in insurance) to represent selling expense and profit to the distributor


loaded; loading; loads

Definition of load (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to put a load in or on load a truck

b : to place in or on a means of conveyance load freight

2a : to encumber or oppress with something heavy, laborious, or disheartening : burden a company loaded down with debts

b : to place as a burden or obligation load more work on him

3a : to increase the weight of by adding something heavy

b : to add a conditioning substance (such as a mineral salt) to for body

c : to weight or shape (dice) to fall unfairly

d : to pack with one-sided or prejudicial influences : bias

e : to charge with multiple meanings (such as emotional associations or hidden implications)

f : to weight (something, such as a test) with factors influencing validity or outcome

4a : to supply in abundance or excess : heap, pack

b : to put runners on (first, second, and third bases) in baseball

5a : to put a load or charge in (a device or piece of equipment) load a gun

b : to place or insert especially as a load in a device or piece of equipment load film in a camera

c : to copy or transfer (something, such as a program or data) into the memory of a digital device (such as a computer) especially from an external source (such as a disk drive or the Internet) Load a new program or game onto your hard disk, and you must run an installation program that decompresses the information held on the floppy disks —Paul C. Schuytema

d : to put a supply of funds or resources into (an account, a gift card, etc.) She was told to go to the Dollar General Store and load a Google Play gift card with $100.The Times Reporter (New Philadelphia, Ohio)

6 : to alter (something, such as an alcoholic drink) by adding an adulterant or drug

7a : to add a load to (an insurance premium)

b : to add a sum to after profits and expenses are accounted for loaded prices

intransitive verb

1 : to receive a load

2 : to put a load on or in a carrier, device, or container especially : to insert the charge or cartridge in the chamber of a firearm

3 : to go or go in as a load tourists loading onto a bus

4 : to become loaded into a computer's memory the program loads quickly

load up on

1 : to ingest in usually large amounts senators loading up on fried chicken and champagne —H. L. Mencken

2 : to acquire in usually large amounts loaded up on hot stocks

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Other words from load


loader noun

Examples of load in a Sentence


He lifted the load onto his shoulders. She was carrying a heavy load of legal documents in her briefcase. He picked up a load of firewood and carried it into the house. The truck was carrying a full load of sand. Losing weight will lessen the load on your knees. His death is a heavy load to bear.


load a truck with packages Workers were loading and unloading the ships as they came into port. We loaded up and drove off. load packages on a truck We loaded our luggage in the car and drove off. Workers were loading cargo on the ships. She loaded the table with all kinds of delicious foods. load a tape into the VCR The film didn't load properly. The bus stopped to load a few more passengers.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Per the Post: An American company that sells cherries had a load held up in inspections for a week; they were delayed so long that the cherries went bad and had to be sent back home. Zeeshan Aleem, Vox, "China might have already begun the US-China trade war," 5 July 2018 So your tiny drone can't lift a giant load of fireworks. Rhett Allain, WIRED, "The Physics of Launching Fireworks From a Drone," 4 July 2018 Until now, the Lakers seemed a fancy reclamation project — a stately home with historic bones, in dire need of hammers, nails and a semi-load of drywall. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Memo to Luke Walton: Here's comes LeBron ... and all that comes with it," 2 July 2018 Founder Michael Dell has considered a variety of options to streamline his multicompany tech empire and help the manage a massive debt load. BostonGlobe.com, "Beef glut lowers prices ahead of Fourth of July holiday," 1 July 2018 Chicopee Police Department This time, on June 25, the man was hauling a gigantic load of leafy branches in the back of the pickup. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Teetering chairs got driver pulled over. His next load really went out on a limb, Mass. cops say," 25 June 2018 Hussein, who has since transferred to California State University East Bay, now balances a 34-hour work week for Uber with a full load of classes. Lauren Markham, The Atlantic, "The Immigrants Fueling the Gig Economy," 20 June 2018 A few weeks before San Francisco’s mayoral election, a large white bus carrying a load of Google employees lumbered through the Mission on its daily trip down Highway 101. Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle, "London Breed as mayor has the tech industry excited. Will it last?," 15 June 2018 Well, my dear husband of many decades never did a load of laundry in his life. Amy Dickinson, chicagotribune.com, "Wife hates husband's secret lingerie habit," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To develop the machine-intelligence component, Brava's software engineers loaded up gobs of food photos; in this case, pictures of toasted bread. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Brava Hopes to Heat Up the 'Smart Kitchen' With a $995 Oven," 10 July 2018 Without hitting a ball to the outfield, the Indians had the bases loaded. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Danny Duffy serves up slam as Royals fall to Indians, lose 60th game of season," 3 July 2018 Edison Chouest is in the process of taking over a 10-year contract from longtime operator Crowley Marine, to provide tanker-escort and spill-prevention duties at the terminal where North Slope crude oil is loaded onto tankers. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "New tug and crew dents oil tanker, prompting reviews as Edison Chouest takes reins in Prince William Sound," 29 June 2018 Next week, the moving vans will load up the ark, memorial boards, artwork and other important belongings for the trip to South Windsor. Steven Goode, Courant Community, "End of An Era for Windsor Synagogue," 24 June 2018 Anxious to stake a claim for the paintings’ place in art history, critics load them up with extra signification. Stephen Metcalf, The Atlantic, "Jean-Michel Basquiat Is Still an Enigma," 24 June 2018 Ehling missed the tag and Gulley got back safely, while courtesy runner Casey Greene stayed at third, and the bases were loaded. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "Highlands baseball, Drew Rom hold off McCracken in state baseball semifinals," 16 June 2018 But if Uber is slow to load on the sometimes-2G cell connection, this is the way to get a ride in a pinch. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Uber Lite May Change the Way India Rides," 12 June 2018 Sure, Williams is financially loaded compared to most of us, and surely has a team of people to help her (providing cooking, and cleaning, and child care, and athletic training, and medical care, for starters). Michelle Garcia, Vox, "Serena Williams, working mom hero," 11 July 2018

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


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


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

History and Etymology for load


Middle English lod, from Old English lād support, carrying — more at lode


see load entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near load





load-bearing tile

load binder

load chart

Statistics for load

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for load

The first known use of load was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for load



Financial Definition of load

What It Is

A load is a fee paid to purchase or sell a specific investment. It is expressed as a percentage of the amount invested. The term is most often used when discussing mutual funds.

How It Works

In general, there are two kinds of loads: front-end loads and back-end loads. A front-end load is a fee paid to purchase an investment, and a back-end load is a fee paid to sell an investment (it may also be called a contingent deferred sales charge, an exit fee, or a redemption charge). A no-load fund is one that does not charge any fees of this type.

Let's assume you are interested in making a $10,000 investment in the Company XYZ mutual fund. If the fund has a 4% front-end load, then of the $10,000 investment, $400 ($10,000 x .04) is paid to the fund company and $9,600 is actually invested in the fund as a result. Ideally, the earnings from the investment should more than make up for the front-end load. In this example, the front-end loaded fund must return 14.6% in one year to reach $11,000 in value after the fee.

If the fund instead has a 4% back-end load, then you must pay a $400 fee upon the sale of the investment ($10,000 x .04). Again, the earnings from the investment should ideally more than make up for the back-end load. In this example, the back-end loaded fund must therefore return 14% in one year to reach $11,000 in value after the fee.

Clearly, the size of the load affects the size of the investor's return. In our example, if the Company XYZ fund is a no-load fund, then in order to reach $11,000 in value after one year, it only needs to generate a 10% return.

Front-end loads vary widely and may apply to reinvestments of dividends, interest, or capital gain. This mutual funds are often referred to as A Shares. When looking at mutual fund trading information, front-end loaded mutual funds will have ask prices that are greater than the fund's net asset value (or bid price). The ask price equals the fund's net asset value plus the front-end load.

Back-end loads are commonly assessed on the beginning value of the investment, although some companies calculate the fee on the ending value if it is lower than the original purchase price. Back-end load mutual funds are often referred to as B Shares. Generally, back-end loads are reduced for each year the investor holds the investment. If the investor holds the investment long enough, many funds waive the back-end fee. For example, a back-end fee might be 5% in the first year, 4% in the second year, and so forth until the fee is zero.

Frequently, investors are able to pay reduced loads if they make large investments. The amount that qualifies for a reduced load is called the breakpoint and varies from investment to investment. Some funds may have more than one breakpoint. In some cases, an investor can sign a letter of intent with the investment company, promising to invest a certain amount over time in order to qualify for the reduced load now.

Why It Matters

Loads discourage investors from frequently trading their mutual fund shares, an activity that requires funds to have considerable amounts of cash on hand rather than invested. Generally, however, a load is considered payment for the broker's expertise in selecting the right fund for the investor. Notably, there is considerable controversy about whether load funds perform better or worse than no-load funds.

Loads are most often associated with mutual funds, but annuities, life insurance policies, and limited partnerships may also have loads. Mutual funds must disclose loads and other fees in their prospectuses, and it is important to understand that a load is only one of several types of fees that may be charged. Thus, when comparing investments, investors should be careful to evaluate all fees associated with an investment, not just the size of the load.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of load

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that is lifted and carried

: an amount that can be carried at one time : an amount that fills something (such as a truck)

: the weight that is carried or supported by something



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

: to put an amount of something in or on (something)

: to put (an amount of something) into or onto something

: to supply (someone or something) with a large amount of something


\ ˈlōd \

Kids Definition of load

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something lifted up and carried : burden

2 : the quantity of material put into a device at one time He washed a load of clothes.

3 : a large number or amount They collected loads of candy on Halloween.

4 : a mass or weight supported by something

5 : something that causes worry or sadness That's a load off my mind.

6 : a charge for a firearm


loaded; loading

Kids Definition of load (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put a load in or on They loaded the truck.

2 : to supply abundantly Newspapers loaded her with praise.

3 : to put something into a device so it can be used You have to load film into the camera.

Other words from load

loader noun

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\ ˈlōd \

Medical Definition of load 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a mass or weight put on something

b : the amount of stress put on something this normal instinctive fear which adds its load to the nervous system —H. G. Armstrong

c : an amount of something (as food or water) added to the body or available for use in some physiological process the cell's response to an increased metabolic loadEmergency Medicine

2 : the number or quantity (as of patients) to be accommodated or treated the patient load of physicians in private practiceJournal of the American Medical Association

3 : the amount of a deleterious microorganism, parasite, growth, or substance present in a human or animal body measure viral load in the blood the worm load in rats

called also burden

Medical Definition of load (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put a load in or on rabbits were loaded with…pyruvate by intravenous injectionsExperiment Station Record

2 : to weight (as a test or experimental situation) with factors influencing validity or outcome

3 : to change by adding an adulterant or drug patent medicines were loaded with narcotics —D. W. Maurer & V. H. Vogel



Legal Definition of load 

: an amount added (as to the price of a security or the net premium in insurance) to represent selling expense and profit to the distributor — compare no-load

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Comments on load

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


alleviating pain or harshness

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