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

SpaceX is launching its latest national security payload for the US Air Force — a satellite called GPS III SV01. Loren Grush, The Verge, "How to watch four rocket launches on a banner day for the space industry," 18 Dec. 2018 Chang’e 4 will carry a cluster of international payloads from Germany, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Sweden. Leonard David, Scientific American, "Comsat Launch Bolsters China's Dreams for Landing on the Moon's Far Side," 22 May 2018 SpaceX has lofty goals of eventually launching a variety of payloads every few days. Amy Thompson, WIRED, "Watch SpaceX Loft NASA’s New Planet-Hunting Mission Into Orbit," 16 Apr. 2018 SpaceX also boosted the capability of the Falcon 9, which now can launch many of the payloads that would have originally required a Heavy. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "Falcon Heavy, in a Roar of Thunder, Carries SpaceX’s Ambition Into Orbit," 6 Feb. 2018 The new rocket is the world's most powerful and could mean transport of bigger payloads into space, including satellites, scientific gear and even humans en route to Mars. David Lazarus,, "California Inc.: A big week for entertainment-industry giants," 5 Feb. 2018 Six small prototype satellites slated for launch this week amount to a light payload with weighty significance: a new vision for European space programs eclipsed by the U.S and China. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "Europe Seeks Out New Frontiers in Space Race," 25 Feb. 2019 The scorched nature of the first stage is striking in the images above, all the more so because of the pure black interstage, which contrasts with the pristine white upper stage and payload fairing at the top of the rocket. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Singed and sooty, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket still looked brilliant Monday," 4 Dec. 2018 Once the rocket is in space, the nose cone, or payload fairing, splits in half and the pieces fall back to Earth. Loren Grush, The Verge, "SpaceX’s boat for catching rocket parts is now sporting a much bigger net," 13 July 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

8 Apr 2019

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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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with payload

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for payload Encyclopedia article about payload

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