un·​load | \ˌən-ˈlōd \
unloaded; unloading; unloads

Definition of unload 

transitive verb

1a(1) : to take off : deliver

(2) : to take the cargo from unload the truck

b : to give outlet to : pour forth unloaded her bitter feelings

2 : to relieve of something burdensome, unwanted, or oppressive unloaded the pack animals unloaded himself to his friend

3 : to draw the charge from unloaded the gun

4 : to sell or dispose of especially in large quantities : dump

5 : to hit or propel with a great release of power unloaded his ninth homer

intransitive verb

1 : to perform the act of unloading

2 : to release or deliver something especially with power unloaded on the ball

3 : to give forth a usually sudden angry outburst the coach unloaded on his players

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Other Words from unload

unloader noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for unload


disburden, discharge, disencumber, off-load, unburden, unlade, unpack


load, pack

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Examples of unload in a Sentence

It took four hours to unload the truck. Could you help me unload the car? After the ship docked, they unloaded its cargo. I have to unload the groceries. Most ships unload at another dock now. The train made several stops to unload passengers. Rumor has it that the manager wants to unload him. Maybe he'll be traded to another team. She unloaded a huge amount of stock when prices fell.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Supporters unloaded box after box of petitions to deliver to the Secretary of State's Office. Ricardo Cano, azcentral, "#InvestInEd collects 110,000 more signatures than needed for education tax initiative, organizers say," 5 July 2018 Some employees have worked on unloading assets and then read in the press those assets had been sold without their knowledge, the people said. Julie Steinberg, WSJ, "Chinese Conglomerate HNA Gets a Lifeline," 2 Mar. 2018 The repossessed vehicle – a black Kia – was just unloaded from the tow truck when the owner noticed someone driving away in his wrecker. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Police: Carjacking suspect kills owner, leads pursuit to Sugar Land," 7 July 2018 There, it was unloaded and installed late Monday afternoon, ready to greet visitors first thing Tuesday. Stephan Salisbury, Philly.com, "Rare version of the Declaration of Independence on display at the Museum of the American Revolution just in time for July 4th," 26 June 2018 Groceries at his stores were unloaded from trucks as close as possible to the wooden shelves where they would be sold, and displayed in their shipping cases. Patrick Mcgroarty, WSJ, "Cub Foods Co-Founder Charles Hooley Was a Bargain-Shopping Pioneer," 22 June 2018 Allowing a crossbow or slingshot to be transported in a car as long as it was unloaded. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Legislature approves Rick Snyder's 'Marshall Plan' before summer break," 12 June 2018 Visitors who walked up to the church Saturday were greeted by a pair of Evanston Police Department firearms instructors who made sure the guns were unloaded and stuck lime-green cords down their barrels to mark them as safe. Alex Nitkin, chicagotribune.com, "Dozens of guns taken by Evanston police at 'no questions asked' buyback event," 11 June 2018 Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic was unloaded at the Pimlico stakes barn at approximately 10:50 a.m. Monday before a crowd of photographers. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic is first to arrive at Pimlico for Preakness," 14 May 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

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Statistics for unload

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unload

The first known use of unload was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for unload



English Language Learners Definition of unload

: to remove something (such as cargo) from a truck, ship, etc.

: to allow (someone) to leave a train, ship, etc.

: to get rid of (something or someone) quickly


un·​load | \ˌən-ˈlōd \
unloaded; unloading

Kids Definition of unload

1 : to take away or off : remove Workers unloaded cargo.

2 : to take a load from Help me unload the car.

3 : to get rid of or be freed from a load or burden The ship is unloading.

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Comments on unload

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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