pay·load | \ˈpā-ˌlōd \

Definition of payload 

1 : the load carried by a vehicle exclusive of what is necessary for its operation especially : the load carried by an aircraft or spacecraft consisting of things (such as passengers or instruments) necessary to the purpose of the flight

2 : the weight of a payload

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Examples of payload in a Sentence

The truck is carrying a payload of 2,580 pounds. the space shuttle can carry a maximum payload of approximately 50,000 pounds

Recent Examples on the Web

The Federal Aviation Administration regulates launches and landings but not the payloads. Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, "NASA needs to upgrade its ‘planetary protection’ efforts, experts say," 2 July 2018 In February, SpaceX demonstrated its new, more powerful Falcon Heavy rocket and managed to simultaneously recover not two boosters on land while sending a red Tesla Roaster off into space as the payload. Fortune, "Elon Musk Shoots for Mars — And Strains His Balance Sheet," 20 June 2018 The payloads can be tailored to exploit specific devices connected to the infected network. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "VPNFilter malware infecting 500,000 devices is worse than we thought," 6 June 2018 No one was harmed, but officials with DHS and outside analysts took it as a warning: What if the drone’s payload were an explosive or a harmful chemical? W.j. Hennigan, Time, "Experts Say Drones Pose a National Security Threat — and We Aren’t Ready," 31 May 2018 That’s less than third of the $350 million required to get the current most powerful rocket, United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy, which carries about half the payload, into orbit. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Watch the First Test Launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket," 6 Feb. 2018 The craft could carry payloads between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds, said Steve Johnston, from Boeing. Rebecca Santana, The Christian Science Monitor, "How to make space exploration less expensive? Reuse the rockets.," 3 July 2018 During the heyday of the space shuttle, NASA would routinely ferry classified payloads into orbit for the Department of Defense among other projects the agencies have collaborated on. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The U.S. Military Has Been in Space From the Beginning," 20 June 2018 The huge rocket -- 5 meters in diameter and 57 meters tall -- was designed to carry up to 25 tons of payload into low orbit, more than doubling the country's previous lift capability. Steven Jiang, CNN, "China launches satellite as part of mission to explore moon's dark side," 21 May 2018

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

1914, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for payload

The first known use of payload was in 1914

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More Definitions for payload



English Language Learners Definition of payload

: the amount of goods or material that is carried by a vehicle (such as a truck)

: the things (such as passengers or bombs) that are carried by an aircraft or spacecraft

: the weight of a payload

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Comments on payload

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not any or not one

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