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

Aerial refueling allows jets to strike targets at a greater distance and carry heavier payloads. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "U.S. Ends Saudi Jet Refueling Missions in Yemen Conflict," 10 Nov. 2018 The company is also developing a more advanced version of the Zephyr that’s twice the size and capable of carrying larger payloads. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Giant Solar Drone Breaks Record for Longest Continuous Flight," 10 Aug. 2018 In February, Space X successfully launched its Falcon Heavy rocket, which was carrying an unusual payload: a cherry red Tesla roadster. Flora Carr, Time, "SpaceX Just Launched Its 50th Falcon 9 Rocket Into Space," 6 Mar. 2018 The space agency knew there was a natural customer: Elon Musk, the cheeky PayPal co-founder and Tesla creator whose SpaceX venture had become the first private rocket company to launch into orbit with a payload. Walter Isaacson, New York Times, "In This Space Race, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk Are Competing to Take You There," 24 Apr. 2018 The first-year students must build a rocket around the motor that will carry at least a one-pound payload to 1,000 feet. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Rocketry students at LHS shooting for the sky," 7 July 2018 Moreover, the agency hasn’t released a specific spending blueprint for building and testing larger landers in later years, including versions aimed at carrying heavier payloads and ultimately astronauts. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "Donald Trump to Host Space-Policy Council Promoting Commercial Ventures," 16 June 2018 The company, founded in 2002, has already had six missions in 2018, notably its February demonstration test flight of the Falcon Heavy, a powerful new rocket with three reusable side boosters designed to carry heavier payloads. Kirsten Korosec, Fortune, "Elon Musk's SpaceX Could Soon Be Worth $25 Billion," 13 Apr. 2018 The Falcon Heavy is designed to carry heavier payloads into orbit and eventually take humans to Mars, with reusable vehicles that lower costs. Marco Santana,, "SpaceX test flight will mark new era, historian says," 21 Jan. 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

18 Nov 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

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


by force of circumstances

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