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 After SpaceX launched 13 rockets in 2019, the company is expected to take a significant step forward with a mix of commercial satellites, NASA payloads, and its own Starlink Internet satellites. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "China and the United States will compete for launch supremacy in 2020," 3 Jan. 2020 About 5,700 pounds of supplies and payloads will head to the International Space Station if all goes well Wednesday morning during SpaceX’s 19th resupply mission to the station. Chabeli Herrera,, "SpaceX plans to launch mission carrying 5,700 pounds of supplies to ISS Wednesday," 4 Dec. 2019 These bulbous structures surround whatever payload or satellite the Falcon 9 rocket is carrying, acting as a shield during each launch. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Watch SpaceX’s net-wielding boat slowly catch a rocket nose cone falling from the sky," 7 Aug. 2019 Once in orbit, the MAV will throw its basketball-sized payload overboard. The Economist, "Astrobiology Bringing rocks back from Mars," 18 Dec. 2019 Its most recent trip before that was in May. This launch was also the ninth test fight that involved research payloads. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin launches 12th test flight of space tourism rocket," 11 Dec. 2019 Musk bragged that the vehicle would have a massive towing capacity, payload capability and acceleration. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Most polarizing vehicles of the century: Tesla Cybertruck just joined the list," 24 Nov. 2019 The 777-8 offers a more compelling payload proposition on London and Sydney flights, whereas the lighter A350 would be more economical to destinations such as Hong Kong and Los Angeles, providing greater flexibility, Joyce said. Guy Johnson,, "Boeing Pitches Stopgap Deal to Win Qantas Order for Delayed 777X," 13 Nov. 2019 In other more positive ways, the 737 and A320 were closely matched: same payloads and performance, same operating costs, same potential for profit-making. New York Times, "What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?," 18 Sep. 2019

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

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Payload.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for payload


How to pronounce payload (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on payload

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for payload

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with payload Encyclopedia article about payload

Comments on payload

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to express in a more acceptable way

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