pay·​load | \ ˈpā-ˌlōd How to pronounce payload (audio) \

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 Additional wing area—which is created with larger leading-edge flaps and foldable wingtip sections—means the F-35C will be able to carry more fuel for a longer operating range and a larger payload. Jim Wilson, Popular Mechanics, "America's New Strike Fighter: PM Meets the F-35," 25 Jan. 2021 The spending bill frees up NASA to choose any commercial rocket to launch a multibillion-dollar payload that would orbit one of Jupiter’s moons. Science News Staff, Science | AAAS, "Massive 2021 U.S. spending bill leaves research advocates hoping for more," 22 Dec. 2020 Plus, the max payload and towing capacities for the hybrid are impressive, at 2120 and 12,700 pounds, respectively. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Proves to Be an Electrifying Workhorse," 19 Nov. 2020 The Tundra has failed to make headway because buyers in the Midwest and many Wheat Belt states want the kind of towing brawn, payload heft and decades-old nameplate loyalty that Toyota’s 20-year-old truck can’t offer. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "The Tacoma pickup is Toyota’s cash cow, and a truck enthusiast’s favorite," 2 Jan. 2021 Had the failure occurred once the rocket was over the pole, the company would have had to wait for the upper stage and payload to come within range of an Australian tracking station before any further details could be gathered. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Upper stage issue causes Arianespace launch failure, costing 2 satellites," 17 Nov. 2020 His duties during the 1985 mission included managing the first first animal payload in manned flight, relatives said. Elizabeth Zavala,, "‘A legacy of insights’: Thornton served military and medicine as inventor, astronaut, professor," 18 Jan. 2021 The lander carrying LuSEE may also have another payload: DAPPER (Dark Ages Polarimeter Pathfinder), a telescope for detecting the 21-cm signal from the cosmic dark ages. Anil Ananthaswamy, Scientific American, "Telescopes on Far Side of the Moon Could Illuminate the Cosmic Dark Ages," 15 Jan. 2021 On Friday, a Soyuz 2.1b rocket launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, carrying its payload of 36 OneWeb satellites into space. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Russia’s space chief cannot seem to get “gentle” SpaceX out of his mind," 21 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for payload

Time Traveler

The first known use of payload was in 1914

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Statistics for payload

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Payload.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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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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