un·​load | \ ˌən-ˈlōd How to pronounce unload (audio) \
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

The woman was unloading groceries in front of her car at about 2:30 p.m. when a silver minivan parked near her, police spokeswoman Natalie Litofsky said. Libby Solomon, baltimoresun.com, "Towson-area crime: Armed robber threatened to shoot, rape woman if she didn't give up purse, police said," 18 June 2019 Sean Illian, 48, was identified as the man who opened fire on his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend as the two were unloading groceries near their infant at bustling shopping center off Broadway about 1 p.m. Monday. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Bad breakup may have fueled shooting that left new parents critically injured, gunman dead," 18 June 2019 The good news, when Edmonton finally unloaded the unproductive Penner on Los Angeles three-plus years later, the package included a first-round Kings pick that brought the Oilers top blue liner Oscar Klefbom. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, "Blues’ Stanley Cup blueprint: Don’t expect league to follow suit," 15 June 2019 When unloading a firearm, always have the muzzle pointed down. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: Proper gun instruction means safety for kids and from intruders," 12 June 2019 The Crew Dragon will autonomously dock with the ISS so that astronauts on board can unload their supplies and engineers can make sure the onboard software is up to the challenge. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "SpaceX launches its first crew capsule. Here's what that means.," 2 Mar. 2019 Seattle likely would unload second baseman Dee Gordon and third baseman Kyle Seager if given the opportunity. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Mariners trade left-hander James Paxton to the Yankees for three prospects," 19 Nov. 2018 Forecasters said Florence's surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet (0.9 meters) of rain, touching off severe flooding. Jonathan Drew, Fox News, "Florence's onslaught could cue disaster in North Carolina," 14 Sep. 2018 In it, the bus driver said he was stopped and unloading children in the 10000 block of Fathke Road with his lights on and stop arm activated when a woman drove past in a white car. Michelle L. Quinn, Post-Tribune, "Police: Dyer woman drove around stopped school bus," 5 June 2019

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

22 Jun 2019

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.
informal : to get rid of (something or someone) quickly


un·​load | \ ˌən-ˈlōd How to pronounce unload (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on unload

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unload

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unload

Spanish Central: Translation of unload

Nglish: Translation of unload for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unload for Arabic Speakers

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 take the place or position of

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